RattlerCats/RageCats complete the Hat Trick, winning 3 Championships
RattlerCats and RageCats Sweep the Midget, Junior, D1 Divisions
By: Raine Hernandez
TAYLOR – After years and years of falling short, the Mission Bauer RattlerCats finally took home their first ever NARCh cup, defeating the Rink Rat Groove by a score of 2-1 in the Junior division at the 2019 East Coast NARCh Finals in Taylor Michigan.
The RattlerCats have been playing at NARCh for quite some time, yet, have yet to claim a championship, following a few tough bounces in their previous years. This time around, they were able to hang on and pull off the championship win.
Not to mention, this division was looked at as a way to redeem themselves, as most of their players were on the Mission Bauer Bordercats Pro team that lost in the Pro final against the Alkali Revel, just a few days prior.
Both teams were dominant in round robin play, scoring a combined 49 goals. When the two teams squared off earlier into the tournament, they tied each other 3-3, in what was arguably the most exciting game of the tournament. Rocco Andreacchi scored with 10 seconds remaining to give the Groove the lead. However, shortly after, Kevin Maddox scored off a one-timer with one second left to tie the game.
It was no different in the championship game, as both teams were evenly matched and battled it out for the Junior championship.
Both goaltenders were stellar for their respective teams. Lane Hartwell for the Groove and Jacob Robinson for the RattlerCats turned away close to every quality opportunity that was thrown towards them. In a game in which the simplest mistake can lead to one team pulling away from another, the Groove were able to find some separation when Cooper Haar scored to give his team the 1-0 lead.
Nonetheless, the RattlerCats stormed back and found themselves with a power-play opportunity, looking to even the score. Hanging in the slot, Cal Kiefiuk shot it past Hartwell’s glove for the equalizer, nodding the score at 1. It wasn’t soon until Maddox scored from the same spot to give RC the 2-1 lead.
Maddox’s goal proved to be the difference maker, as Robinson shut the door and the RattlerCats played great defense holding the lead to claim the title. Brandon Glover took home the award as the division’s top scorer, notching 12 goals and 5 assists throughout the tournament. Meanwhile, Maddox was the Player of the Game following his game-winning goal, winning a Labeda stick.
With the victory, this could be the beginning of a dynasty of winning, as every member on the team are quite younger, with the oldest players born in ’97, to the youngest who are ’00 born players.
The RattlerCats didn’t have to wait any much longer to have a shot to win a second NARCh title, with the Division 1 division starting up right after their win in Juniors. Much like the division prior, it would be the RattlerCats and the Groove who would solidify themselves as the heavy favourites, meeting up once again in the finals.
The championship game would turn out to be a near exact replica from their last matchup.
The Groove would jump onto the lead first when Andreacchi buried early into the first period. However, the heroics of Kevin Maddox was on display once again, scoring two consecutive goals to put the RattlerCats ahead. Once RC had the lead, Jacob Robinson was stellar yet again, shutting the door to secure their second NARCh title at the event.
The RC boys did not stop there, as Kiefiuk, Hunter Tillotson, and Carter Buehlow still had one more division to try and win, the Midget Platinum division.
Now named the RageCats, the mixture of players from Michigan, Missouri, and Ontario players were men amongst boys in the Midget division, steamrolling every opponent that stood in their way, having a goal differential of 28-5 in the round robin.
Nothing would change in the playoffs, as the RageCats would mercy Farm Tough 10-2 in the semis and would square off in the championship game against the NCR Konixx Elite. Led by head coach Evil Covacha, the RageCats would shut out the Elite, mercying them as well for a 8-0 win and the Midget Platinum championship, completing the 3/3 sweep.
For players such as Tillotson, and Kiefiuk who played four divisions (Midget, Junior, D1, Pro) finished the tournament with a combined record of 21-1-2, with their only loss coming in the Pro championship game, something almost unheard of at any NARCh Finals event.
Not too shabby.