Atoms and Mites finished yesterday and we discussed those divisions in blog last night, so we’ll jump right into the 5-team squirt division. The East End Saints started off a little rough and have the least tourney experience, but they did improve every game. Their last two games were respectable 3 goal losses, but they still ended up in the basement of the division.
The platinum final would match up the Oakville Coyotes 99’s and KW Rage 99’s. The Coyotes did not let up a single goal in their first 4 games. It’s not enough that they averaged scoring 7 goals a game, but their goalie Adam Brown was very solid when teams did manage to get shots on him.
In the championship the Rage knew what they were up against and fought hard and had great, positive attitudes. They ultimately lost the game to the much more talented Coyotes, but it says a lot about a team and a coach when they don’t give up and stay positive, even when they know they’re overmatched. Don’t get me wrong, the Rage have some very solid players too, they’re just not as deep as the Coyotes.
The Coyotes are talking about coming to the FINALS to play squirt platinum but only have about half a team committed at this point. Hoping they can get it together this week to get in. I’d love to see how they would match up against other platinum teams from around the country, especially the West Coast.
In squirt gold title game the KW Rage 00’s would take on the Mississauga Rattlers. In the prelims the Rage would come out on top, but as we all know, at the beginning of each game the score is zero – zero and past scores don’t carry forward. As I saw it, these two teams were very evenly matched and either team could take it.
The Rattlers would come out firing first, taking an early 2-0 lead. The Rage would answer and we would go into half tied at 3-3. As it often is, the second half was a story of capitalized chances and missed opportunities. Everything seemed to go the Rattlers way, even though the Rage would apply tons of pressure throughout. If there was a game MVP it would have probably went to Dario Gagliardi, the Rattler goalie, as he shut out the Rage in the second half and the Rattlers took the title by a final of 7-3.
Peewees – this would also be a 5-team division. We had a feeling that the Rattlers Black and Tour Bordercats would meet for the platinum title, and we weren’t wrong. These are two strong platinum teams without weak links. The Rattlers came flying and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. The Bordercats would score the next goal to make it 2-1, but the Rattlers added two more and took a commanding 4-1 lead into half. The Bordercats tightened up their defense in the second half and scored two late goals to make it a truly exciting final. Down 4-3 they had multiple opportunities to tie it up. A few times they just honestly missed the net, but Rattlers goalie Chris Boen also came up huge at the end to secure the championship for the Rattlers, as they would go undefeated on the weekend.
The Reebok Bandits and Wheels of Anarchy tied in the prelims, so it was fitting that they would meet for the gold championship. The Bandits were a little bigger and stronger, as they should be since the Anarchy are actually a super talented squirt team that won at the Dumars Qualifier and played up in peewee to get the heavy challenge before heading to San Jose for the NARCh FINALS. Reebok is a solid team though, so it’s a steep challenge for any younger team, even if you are one of the best in the country. #63 for the Bandits had a solid game, scoring a hat trick in the final, and the Bandits will head back to Pittsburgh with gold medals. Final score, 6-1.
Bantams – 8 teams made up this division. The games were very competitive and there really wasn’t a large drop in talent here, as the parity was evident by the way the playoff games unfolded.
In one gold semi-final we had the Bordercats Black and Blue facing off. On paper, and by the prelim results, you might think this would be an easy game for the black team. Instead they almost lost the game, but did manage to pull it out in overtime on a snipe by #87 Austin Sansom. They would advance to play the Rattlers Red, who pulled out a close one against the Alkali Fusion, 2-1.
The Rattlers Red jumped out to a quick start, just like they did in many of their preliminary games. Holding a lead would be a problem all weekend though, and their 3-0 lead would evaporate, as the game would end up tied 3-3 with about 4 minutes remaining and the Bordercats carrying the momentum. Both teams had their chances down the stretch, but with about a minute remaining in regulation #21 for the Bordercats, Daniel Schmidt, would score his second of the game and the Bordercats would take the title by the final of 4-3.
In the platinum semi-finals the Rattlers Black took care of the Oakville Coyotes to advance, but the Radicals vs Radicals AA matchup was very exciting. The Radicals AA are the younger of the two and would pull off what most would consider an upset, 4-3. A come from behind upset, as they were down 3-0 at one point! The older Radicals defeated the Rattlers Black in the prelims, then tied Bordercats Black to grab the #1 seed overall, but none of that would matter because they were not able to advance when it truly counted.
It was nice to see the players in this division settle down come playoff time. It was a rough division yesterday, as a lot of guys took stupid penalties and had something to prove, but today they focused on hockey and it made for some great playoff games.
The platinum championship between Rattlers Black and Brampton Radicals AA was a good game, but the Rattlers did carry the play. They’re a talented group with a short bench and know each other well, similar to the Rattlers Midget squad that is often in the hunt for NARCh Championships whenever they play. #11 Aiden Board would have two goals and an assist in the championship and the Rattlers would take the title game by a final of 4-1.
Jr/Mens -This 12-team division was pretty cool. Teams were from everywhere and a wide range of ages. A game that sticks out to me was last night between the Rattlers White and Montreal Ducks. Seeding was just about done and we were on our last set of games. Most were trying to figure out where they would land in the playoffs, which is never easy with 12 teams and games still going on. Most assumed the Rattlers would defeat the Ducks.
With just over a minute remaining in regulation the Rattlers were up 4-2. Then they popped one to close the gap to make it 4-3. Not 30 seconds later #91 Alexandre Grenier scored again to tie it up! I have no idea how it happened, but with less than 5 seconds left Alexandre got a breakaway and buried it with 2.5 seconds remaining. The Ducks were elated, the Rattlers stunned, and it turned the seeds for the whole division upside down. 5 teams would be tied with 4 points, so the difference between the 3 seed and 7 seed was decided by goals against.
When you have a 12 team split division and it’s a mens division, you’re really rolling the dice and hoping for the best, because you never really know who is going to show up. At this event it worked out very well.
Both platinum semi-finals would be decided by 1 goal games, as the Rattlers White would shake off the Duck attack from the night before and defeat the Canning Mudhogs 4-3, and the younger legs of the Brampton Radicals would get past the Rattlers Black, 5-4.
The Rattlers White wanted to prove something in the championship against the Radicals. It was close at half, with the Rattlers leading 2-1, but they really dominated the second half on their way to one of our few lopsided championships. 6 different goal scorers found the net for the Rattlers White as they cruised to an 8-2 victory.
8 teams got dropped to gold but these playoffs were not as tight as the platinum playoffs. When the dust settled the first timers from Ottawa, the Red Storm, would make it to the championship game against the Bar Down Billionaires. The Red Storm got better every game. You may have seen the pictures on Facebook of a few of the guys in hockey socks. They obviously had hockey backgrounds, so as they got more used to Sportscourt they were solid.
In the championship the Billionaires couldn’t get through the Storm, and the boys in hockey pants took gold medals back to Ottawa. Final score 9-4.
Overall it was a fantastic event and we look forward to seeing many of these teams in about 4 weeks on the West Coast for the NARCh FINALS.