We had a great time this weekend at Dreamsports Center in North Carolina. A special thanks to Steve and his staff, as they had things buttoned up for us once we got here. They run this rink very well!
NARCh Cub Division – All of the players 6 and under that play at the rink came for a mini tournament, where they split into 3 teams. They all played in 3 games, and had a great time doing it (but you have to take a look at the pictures on the Facebook page… the kids are really cute, and some took the loss in the final harder than they needed to). Overall, it was a great atmosphere in the building while their games were going on.
Atom Division – This one was held entirely on Saturday. The Primetime Dragons White were led by Brad McHugh, and backstopped by Nick Helton. They were the best team by far in this group, besting the Dragons Red by 3 goals in the final. We were thankful to have the Rattlers come down from Virginia for the day, and hope they had a good time skating with some other good hockey players their age.
Squirt Division – This 6 team division was split into 2 groups of 3 after the preliminary round, and after watching them play, it was split perfectly.
The 10 and under Carolina Force made it to the Silver Final based on their first 3 games, and awaited the winner of the Speed / Rattlers Orange game. The Speed came to play on Sunday, beating the Rattlers 7-1, and then taking the Silver title by a 9-1 count.
In the upper tier, the Rattlers Black, TC 2000 and Dragons Black all seemed very evenly matched. The Dragons were fortunate enough to get a bye to the final, thanks partially to division high scorer Carter Mussina, and awaited the Rattlers / TC winner. This game was a classic, as it had to go to a shootout to be settled. 11 shooters later, it took a save by top goalie Stephen Koffley to send the Rattlers to the final. In the last game of the event, the Rattlers took their momentum into it, and jumped out to a quick 2 goal lead. They held off a late surge by the Dragons, and drove a gold medal home to Virginia.
Pee Wee Division – This group of 6 teams was a lot of fun to watch, as the teams balanced solid defense and some run and gun action. This group seemed to have 4 teams that could have beaten one another depending on the day.
The Silver Final saw a hometown matchup of the Raleigh Speed Black and Raleigh Speed Blue against each other. The Blue team seemed a bit intimidated by the speedy Black team, and were on their heels most of this game. The Black team ended up with the gold medal after an 8-0 win.
In the Gold Division, the Rattlers Black earned the bye to the final thanks to solid play by top goalie Ben Talman and high scorer Matthew Jahn. They were to face the winner of the Purple Cobras vs Dragons Black game. The Cobras were a firing machine, as they peppered the Dragons goalie with over 30 shots. 5 of those shots got by, and the Cobras made it to the final. This game started out slow, as the teams appeared to be feeling each other out. After about 10 minutes, a few goals ended up in the back of the net for each team, and in the end, a goal by Nick Reisenweaver with just over 2 minutes to go sealed the gold medal for the Rattlers.
Yesterday, Itan wrote a bit about the Bantam Division, especially the play of the Alkali Assault, thanks to high scorer Ricky Chen, and top goalie Greg Merzigian. The team that seemed to get little mention, but definitely deserved a great deal of credit is the Alkali Assault 98. They are a Pee Wee team that played up, and boy did they play! They made it to the Gold Final against the Assault bantams, and really held their own, keeping the score tied up until the last 2 minutes when the Assault put home the game winner. Look for the Assault 98 in the Pee Wee Platinum Division at the NARCh Finals in Mississauga this summer.
The Bantam Silver Final was very interesting, as the Alkali Arsenal made it after a shootout win in the morning against the Rattlers Orange. The Arsenal had not won a game yesterday, yet seemed to ride the wave right into the final, and right over the Nightmare, whos’ effort was thwarted by the Arsenal wave.
The Midget/Men’s Division had two standout teams in Alkali Assault, and the Carolina Comets. As it turned out, they were the #2 and #3 seeds, and had to play each other in a playoff to see who would face the Nightmare, who were thankful for the benefit of the opponents on their schedule. The Assault and Comets tied 5-5 in their game yesterday, and in the rematch, the Assault has just a bit more in the tank, as they doubled up the Comets, 6-3. The final was pretty one-sided, as the Assault took it to the Nightmare, winning 8-2. The high scorer was Luis Gimenez of Nightmare, and the top goalie was Assault’s Jon Sommerville.
The Midget/Men’s Silver Final saw the Assault Midget team play against the Assault Blue, labeled the Assault Juniors. The Midgets looked great in this one, beating the short bench of the Assault Juniors by a 6-4 margin.
That’s it for North Carolina! Look for the San Jose and Colorado Recaps later today. See you in a few weeks, as we will be coming to you from The Aloha State!!! I’m looking forward to that one!