By Jeremy Ellis
After a busy Saturday of games that culminated in the Snipers PRO Championship, we are back here at the Cooler for Day 4 and a slate of championship games. The 16u divisions and 8u divisions both culminate today in a blur of medals and trophies. Five Championships will be earned before the dust settles on this first weekend, so let’s get you caught up on all the action.
The 16u division was seeded into three groups of Platinum, Gold and Silver. Seeding was tight in this group and the number 1 seeds in both gold and platinum earning easier roads to the title. The home bench proved to be somewhat of a jinx in this division as the visitors took gold in all 3 brackets.
First up was the Silver Final between the Michigan Snipers White and the Confusion. The Snipes White were the #8 seed after a rough round robin but came alive come playoffs with an opening 10-3 victory over the Fallout. That led to a matchup against the #7 seed Confusion for the Silver title. After scoring the opening tally, the Snipers were then tied by the Confusion. It lasted that way until halftime with the score 1-1. The second 12 minutes was all Snipers with Zac Scram providing the offense as he lit it up 3 times for the hat trick. There was more coming up from the Snipers program though.
The snipers Black earned their way into the Gold division and they ended up taking on the ISCA grizzlies. Once again, the Snipers were situated on the Visitors bench as the Grizzlies held the higher seed. The Snipers Black were on a high after seeing the White team hoist a cup prior to their game. They came out firing and held a 3-1 lead after 12 minutes. Credit head coach Dennis Jelcic and his staff for making the necessary adjustments at halftime as they mounted a comeback and tied the game with just under 5 minutes left on the second goal by Anthony Oddo. 24 minutes was not enough so we were headed to overtime. After a minute of play in the OT the Snipers tried a wraparound from behind the net. The ensuing play was a mad scramble in the goal crease, but it was Chris Trush who located the puck first and slid it into the net for the win. Congrats on back to back championship gold medals by the Snipers Bantams!
The Bantam Platinum championship saw the Colorado Stallions and the Tour Lizard Kings facing off. The Lizard kings are one of the best around at this age group and were still smarting over a championship game loss a few weeks ago in Irvine at the West Coast Finals. However, it was the Stallions who had the bye to the Final and sported the higher seed. The Stallions showed Moxy today in coming back in this game twice. The second time to make it 2-2 with 3:14 left. This one looked as if would head to overtime until the Lizard Kings’ Blake Brown slid a pass across to Miles Harrington for his third goal of the game and game winner. Harrington continued an already impressive summer earning the High Scorer award for the division.
Our last 2 finals were fun ones in the 8u division. The Silver final commenced first with the P-Rex and Chill Lizards. Seeing the faces on the players as I announce their names in warm ups is one of my biggest personal satisfactions. Those kids are super pumped for the game and experience of it all and it shows.
The final would be tilted towards the P-Rex in this one as they shut out the Lizard Kings. Both teams were all smiles post game despite the result as they were handed their medals. A good amount of the Chill Lizards were newer players and they will continue to grow from events like this year’s finals. The P-Rex were a step ahead and can use this experience as motivation to continue working towards the next level of skill development.
The 8u Gold final was an anticipated matchup between the Jr Gladiators and the Cayman Islands. These two teams met in the round robin and had a back and forth game ending in a 5-5 tie. The Cayman Islands squads have been a force in recent years and were helmed by coach Kyle Aldrich. This time though the Gladiators left little doubt with a 5 goal first half in route to a convincing 9-2 win. The team was led by both the top scorer, Noah Ratcliff who amassed 29 points and top goaltender Keean McKenna. This Jr Gladiators team boasted speed and skill and would matchup well with anyone.
Congrats to all 5 of our medal winning teams. While we say goodbye to the 16u and 8u divisions, we say hello to 18u, Division 1, and 14u. Don’t forget the 18u skills competition today – just another day of thrills here at the 2018 NARCh Finals!