Quick Irvine Recap
By Alex Morrison
This was a great weekend of hockey, with a mix of veteran and rookie NARCh participants, making for a fun time here at The Rinks - Irvine. Here is a little bit about each of the 10 age divisions that participated over the last 4 days:
Our 6 & Under group is always a fun one to watch. We had some energetic players and parents that came out on Saturday for a quick 5 game tournament. Daryn and I both commented about how close some of these games were. Sometimes when we hold this division, there is one team or one player that dominates everyone else. That was not this case here, as both playoff games were decided by one goal… overtime in the 1st playoff, where the Pama Cyclones squeaked by the Bulldogs, then in the final, a late Cyclones goal earned them the gold medal against the Labeda Jets.
This group of 8 teams featured some great young talent, including one very special player from the Cayman Islands, who scored more goals than 6 of the teams competing in the division. In addition, he is a first year player, so we are sure to see great things in this division for quite some time to come. Jaxon and Cayman teammates earned a spot in the final of the Gold Division after beating the Bulldogs in the semifinal. The other semifinal saw the Pama Cyclones 08 face the Temecula Warriors, with a very talented Cyclones team moving on after a 5-4 OT win against the Warriors. The Cyclones took that momentum into the final, and scored a ton of goals, outmatching Cayman 13-6. It was a lively game, with tons of action!
The Silver Division was full of excitement as well, with 19 combined goals in the 2 semifinals, and 14 goals in the final. The Cyclones Blue and Labeda Jets skated one heck of a game, but in the end, the Cyclones were just too much for the Jets.
14 teams participated in the 10 & under age group, which was split into 3 divisions. Goals were not in short supply for this group, as 11 of these teams scored at least 10 goals through 3 games. Only 3 of the teams were undefeated through the 1st round, and moved on to the Platinum semifinal. The next 4 were place in Gold, then the next 6 in Silver.
The Platinum Division saw a very strong NorCal Jokers team shut out Revo 07s in their semifinal, while the Pama Cyclones Black squeaked by the Renegades in a great game. Pama used that momentum to jump out front early in the championship game, and keep pouring it on, finishing with a 7-4 victory.
In the Gold Division, the High Rollers and Militia White looked destined to face each other in the final. They did just that, each besting the Cyclones 07 and Bulldogs white, respectively. The final was a great game, as the back and forth play led to some great scoring chances and even better goaltending. In the end, the High Rollers took home the gold medal.
The Silver Division saw Cayman Islands make the final with a big win against Militia White, while they awaited the winner of the Temecula Warriors vs Pama Cyclones 06. The Warriors gave Pama a run for their money, but in the end, the Cyclones moved on to the final. In that championship game, Pama kept the momentum going in their favor, as they were able to squeak out a victory against the strong opponent from the Cayman Islands.
We saw 16 teams battle it out in our 12 & under age group, split into 3 divisions. There was some ridiculous talent on the floor this weekend, including one of the best 2004 players I have seen on the west coast, making for some beautiful hockey moments on the rink.
The top 4 teams were in the Platinum Division, as Pama Black, High Rollers AA and Rockets 04 were joined by the up and comers, the Temecula Warriors. The Cyclones bested Temecula in their semifinal, while the Rockets dominated puck possession against the Rollers. The final looked to be a high scoring one, based on the play up to that point. This championship game was almost halfway into the first half before Pama was able to tally their first goal, followed by another one, then another… 3 within a minute.
In the Gold Division, Notion, Revo 05s, Cayman Islands, and Bulldogs White were all one win away from the final. Notion matched up against Revo and were able to double them up, with a 4-2 victory. The other game took overtime to determine a winner, as the Bulldogs emerged victorious. The final
The Silver Division was a high scoring one, as the 4 quarterfinal winners scored a combined 27 goals in their 4 games. The semifinal featuring Militia Red and the Nor Cal Jokers wasn’t much different, as the Jokers won that one by an 8-7 score. The other semi saw the Rockets 05 dominate the Bend Bullets by a 5-1 margin. In the final, the San Diego kids continued their domination… until the last 2 minutes, then the jokers scored, scored again, scored again, and scored a 4th time, getting the score to a 7-5 margin. They were just a bit too late, as the clock ran out on their epic comeback.
This was quite the division, featuring 18 teams at the 14 & Under mark playing for 3 division titles. This is always an interesting one to watch, as kids are all at different stages of growth, and sometimes have more than a foot a height difference between players. There was also a heck of a lot of talent, with some of these players out here this weekend destined for greatness in professional hockey at some point in their future.
The Platinum Division was a great one, and featured the San Jose Inline Sharks and NCR Konixx Elite in one semifinal, while Konixx Outcasts 02 and Revision Vanquish battled in the other. The Sharks breezed in their game, while a very close game went in Revision’s favor in the other one. Once we hit the final, both teams came out ready to play a smart, fast game. There was a bit of back and forth, as the Sharks held a 2-1 lead at the half, and scored again a few minutes into the 2nd. But then, it was all Vanquish, as they scored 4 times in the second half to come from behind, and win the gold medal by a 2 goal margin.
In the Gold Division, we had a strange predicament. 2 teams that are arguably among the best in the country, and will be in the Platinum Division at the NARCh Finals each lost a game during the prelims, sending them down to this group. They ended up facing each other in the semifinals this morning. Skittles, who won the HB regional, and the LA Winterhawks, comprised of many LA Kings AAA Bantam players. The ‘hawks were able to take this one by 2 goals, sending them to the final against an outmatched High Rollers team, who was able to get to the game thanks to an OT win against the Cyclones Red. The Winterhawks ended the final a bit early, as they won by an 8 goal margin.
The Silver Division saw the Cyclones White and AKS Red face each other in a high scoring affair. The cyclones were able to control the puck for most of the game however, and take home the gold medal, beating AKS by a 7-3 score.
The largest division at any regional qualifier all season will be this 16 & Under age group, that was broken down into 3 categories. Over 150 players from 4 states converged on the rinks to get seeded into their respective divisions at the NARCh Finals this summer.
The Platinum Division has the Skittles and Outcasts 00 in one semifinal, while Revo Black 01 and the Bulldogs faced off in the other. Both games were good ones, as the Skittles showed their offensive prowess in one, while Revo Black showed some great defense in the other. Those 2 teams met in the final, where the Skittles played both ends of the floor very well, as they played to coach Shayne Arsenault’s satisfaction, winning the gold with a 4-1 victory.
In the Gold bracket, Militia Blue, Raiders Yellow, Outcasts Blue and San Jose Inline Sharks made their way through their quarterfinal matchups, and on to the semifinals. The Outcasts Blue and Sharks played an epic game, needing extra time to determine a winner. They couldn’t do it in the overtime period, so we went to a shootout, where the Outcasts came up on top. The other game had some nice moments, but was controlled by the Raiders, as they held Militia to only one goal. In the final, the Raiders kept up that stellar defense, shutting out the Outcasts on the way to a 5-0 win.
We saw 12 different 18 & Under teams here this weekend, and
Our top 4 teams were all very solid. The first Platinum semifinal had Pama Prospects playing Notion, a matchup that looked to be a good one. The teams didn’t disappoint, as they each scored 4 goals over the course of the game, needing overtime to determine a winner. Notion was able to take the puck down the floor and score, sending them off to the final against the winner of the Revo Black 99 vs. Bulldogs game. Revo was able to send the puck at the Bulldogs net over 25 times, putting 6 of them past the ‘tender, sending Revo Black 99 to the final. This game had all the makings of a classic, with solid goaltending, great passing, good defense, and some incredible goals. Notion went up 2-0 in the first half. Revo was able to cut the lead in half before halftime, and then were the only team to score, doing it twice in the second half, leading to a big win and a gold medal.
In the Gold Division, the whole bracket was dominated by one team, who was placed down there after losing to the eventual Platinum champs in the initial round. KG Groove won their quarterfinal by 7, their semifinal by 8, and ended up facing NCR Konixx Elite in the final, who had a much tougher time of things getting to that game. The Elite had a couple hours off after winning their semifinal against the Outcasts in overtime, and some excited players celebrating after that goal. They then had to face a tough challenge against this powerhouse in the Groove, and were outmatched by a bit. They ended up keeping it a bit close, but the Groove pulled away, and ended up with an 8-3 victory.
This was our smallest division this weekend, but one of the fastest, as many current and future platinum and pro level players participated this weekend.
The Konixx Outcasts, Verbero Voltage, and Pama Prospects all looked great during the round robin, and were the 3 teams that qualified for the playoffs. Verbero and Pama had to battle each other for the right to play the Outcasts in the final. Pama had lost to both Verbero and Konixx in the initial round, and wanted some revenge for their loss earlier in the tournament. They came out flying, and ended up scoring 6 goals against a solid defensive team. That left them to face the Outcasts in the final, and try to repeat what they did in the playoff… avenge a prior loss. They dominated the first half, scoring 3 goals, and giving up none, and looked to cruise to an easy gold medal. They even added another goal to start the second half, before Konixx turned it on, and scored 3 goals within a few minutes, setting up a fantastic finish. They weren’t able to put the 4th puck in the net though, and Pama won the division 4-3.
This Men’s division showcased some great talent, doing some incredible things on the rink. All 6 teams in this group were competitive, and were a good group of players for our younger skaters to watch and learn from. The 2 semifinals featured a very good Outcasts team with Tommy (TNT) Tartaglione making an appearance in goal this weekend, shutting out Rogue. The other game had Spray and Mavin Savage battling for the last spot in the ‘ship.
The final was extremely entertaining, as the teams each scored 4 times in the first frame. The second half started out strong for Spray, as they went up by 2. The Outcasts weren’t done though, as they scored one with a few minutes left, then pulled the goalie and tied the game with less than a minute left. Konixx had 2 power plays in overtime, but could not convert, so we went to a shootout. TNT stopped every single shooter he faced, leading his team to the gold medal.
5 of the 6 teams in this division scored in double digits in their preliminary round, as this very evenly matched group worked hard to earn one of 4 spots in the semifinal. No team went undefeated, but the Raiders OG had the best record at the end of the prelims. They face MR2 Lynx Rooks, who barely made it in, as the #4 seed. The Rooks played an incredible game, as this team was a conglomeration of young bucks and grizzled vets, including long time NARCh veteran Paul Newell. They dominated the Raiders 5-0, earning a spot in the final. The other semifinal featured Red Army, who won the Huntington Beach regional, playing against Sandbagz. This high scoring affair saw pucks flying all around the rink, including 12 into the net during regulation, as we ended things 6-6, and needed overtime to determine a winner. This nailbiter ended quickly in overtime, as Sandbagz were able to score and move on. The final was a great one, as both teams were hot and exhausted, as they gave their all to win the gold. The Lynx had a late lead, and were able to hold on, as they emerged victorious by a 3-2 margin.
Our next regional qualifying tournament is in New York, on Long Island, next weekend. We look forward to it!