Day 2 - Winternationals
By Jeremy Ellis
Day 2 keeps chugging along here in Huntington for the 2018 Winternationals. Round robins are finishing up while other divisions are getting underway. The Pros continue to lace up as they complete the 3rd and 4th games on their schedules. Lets get into the game action today to get you caught up.
Our 6u Cub division consists of 3 teams. The Bulldogs Blue, Militia, and OC Marvel all played twice today with the Marvel looking like the team to beat. They will face the Militia - Bulldogs winner in the championship game.
We mentioned our large divisions in 12u, 14u and 16u. All three of these divisions allow for a break to make platinum, gold and silver qualifications. On the podcast this morning we discussed the divisions and how some times the round robin games can be lopsided due to the matchups and the large pool of teams. While we always want a close game, we also understand that the way we seed the divisions creates the proper teams facing one another come playoff time. The 4 best will end up in platinum and create some close, exciting contests. That theory was true to form today. In the 16u playoffs, every game was within 2 goals.
The 12u divisions were extremely close with 3 overtime playoff games among the gold and silver divisions. Upsets ruled the day with a total of 6 in those two divisions. Big kudos to the Labeda Jets in 16u who went 0-3 in round robin but then managed a huge upset with a 6-3 win in the Silver Quarterfinals.
When creating the schedule for this event we make sure to keep the Nor-Cal teams from playing one another in the round robin. however, come playoff time it is a feeding frenzy and dog eat dog. They continue to knock one another off along the way. All of the platinum semifinals are on Sunday in 12,14, and 16 and they are one of the things I am looking forward to the most. These titles are all truly up for grabs. We discussed some picks on the podcast, but if today showed us anything, it is that upsets are ready to happen here in 2018. I would honestly not be surprised if any of the #1 seeds don't come through in winning Gold.
Also seeding out today were the Silver-Bronze and Platinum editions in Mens. Irvine opened the doors as 6 floors ran simultaneously this afternoon. We had to wait out some scores from there to finish off the Silver brackets as teams waited to see how they would fare in the tiebreakers. Goals against once again proved crucial in breaking 3 way ties in platinum and 4 way ties in Silver/Bronze. The High Rollers have looked especially formidable in Silver taking the #1 seed while allowing only 2 goals. They will face a hungry and physical Hockey House Army team that will have a crowd cheering them on from the north. Verbero Cypress snuck out the 1 seed in platinum as the mighty Pama Labeda Golden Knights team looks somewhat less formidable than years past. They do have a championship pedigree though and can turn a switch at any given moment. They looked dominant against a game Red Army team that came in 2-0 only to fall 5-2 earlier today. I am keeping an eye on the Buzz, who may have the best offense in the division but need to shore up the defensive side of things.
As the night winds on the 40 and 30 and over hit the floor along with teams in the Womens division. Our first championship game is bright and early tomorrow in the 16u Silver Final. The semifinal winners will have a one game break before getting back on the floor for the championship game. The team trophies are HUGE this year and the 3D medals are extremely sharp. An assortment of championship games will take place tomorrow including the "Grand Daddy of Them All" the NARCh Pro Final (shoutout and RIP to legendary broadcasterKeith Jackson). That tilt is scheduled for a 6:10 PM puck drop with a $5000 prize purse on the line.
Tomorrow will be fantastic and we will do our best to get you caught up if you are not here. The Hockeyshift App is available to follow your favorite teams and we will be lacing up another podcast to break down everything Winternational. Time to head out for the night and grab some rest, going to need it to keep up with all of the energy and excitement of tomorrow. Cheers from the Rinks!