Recapping the 14u Divisions from the NARCh FINALS in Irvine

by Daryn Goodwin

14U Overtime Frenzy at the 2019 West Coast NARCh Finals!

By: Raine Hernandez

We are getting close to the home stretch of the tournament at the 2019 West Coast NARCh Finals in Irvine, California, meaning that a few of the divisions were wrapping up on Friday. The 14u divisions were coming to a close, highlighted by some of the greatest roller hockey played in the entire tournament.

14U Platinum – Angry Ducks 04 vs. Pama Labeda Golden Knights

Flashback to when the Angry Ducks 04’s squared off against each other in round robin, it was the first game for both teams. The Angry Ducks pounced on them, dismantling the Golden Knights to secure a convincing 8-1 win.

The Angry Ducks have been dominant in the past, however with only 5 skates on their roster, there comes a time when that workload simply comes too much to handle.

It showed as the Angry Ducks had to claw their way through victories against the North Shore Zulu, Konixx Detroit, and especially in their semi-final win against AKS. On the other hand, Pama upset Connor Bedard and the North Shore Zulu to earn themselves a rematch against the Ducks.

Despite this, many people around the arena were looking at their last game against each other and thinking that this game should be a cakewalk for the Ducks, something that Pama wanted to prove wrong.

It’s always hard to beat the same team twice, and the Golden Knights were sticking true to that saying after a strong defensive first period, while also applying pressure and creating solid scoring chances.

Finally, it would be the Golden Knights who would shock the crowd and get on the board first after Justin Armbruster was set up by Talen Garcia to go up 1-0. Suddenly, the Golden Knights were given the ability to just run out the clock and hold on until they can be crowned Platinum champs.

The Golden Knights were just a minute away from pulling off one of the biggest upsets at any NARCh event this season, however, with 39 seconds left, Oaken Son deflected a pass into the net to tie the hockey game and bring the game into overtime.

Throughout the entire overtime, it was a battle of the goaltenders as Owen Crudale and Aidan Comeau would play as if they were standing on their heads, both doing whatever it takes to keep their teams in the game, so much so that it was sent to another overtime.

After just 1:30 into the second overtime, Golden Knights forward Christian Kim would be the hero and step up and score to break the tie, upsetting the Angry Ducks to hoist the Platinum championship.

This would be Kim’s second consecutive 14u NARCh Finals championship win after winning it in Detroit with Konixx Detroit.

14u Gold – Pure Maple Gold vs. NCR Konixx Elite 

Much like the Golden Knights and the Ducks, both the Pure Maple Gold and the NCR Konixx Elite squared off in the round robin. In their matchup, it was Pure Maple who found themselves on top, earning a convincing 7-3 win on route to clinching the #1 seed in the Gold division. In their semi-final game, they found themselves in a war against the Warrior Revo 05’s but were able to come out with the 3-2 win.

As for Konix, they squeaked into the playoffs with a 2-1-1 record, and had to play the Konixx Outcasts to move into the semi-finals and did so with a 4-1 win. The Elite had the chance to book their ticket into the championship game, all they had to do was defeat the HB Militia. Luckily, they managed to pull off the upset and had themselves a date with Pure Maple to decide who would be champions.

In the first period, it was Pure Maple who got themselves on the board first, as Ethan Wongos and Blake Power wired shots into the net to go up 2-0. Konixx would cut the lead in half at the end of the period, when Christopher Wu scored with 1:57 remaining.

Konixx would score again when Joshua Chimienti got his shot through Jake Redhead to finally even the score at 2, setting up an excellent finish to the game. With 2:58 left, Pure Maple would regain the lead after Wongos would tally his second of the hockey game. Their lead would not last long though, as William Wu wired a shot just seconds later to bring things back to square one, thus bringing the game into overtime.

Just 2 minutes into the extra frame, Pure Maple’s Matis Rochon pulled away and became Canada’s hero, scoring in overtime as Pure Maple claimed their first championship of the tournament. From the beginning to the end, they proved that they were the cream of the crop in the 14u Gold division, and now their championship win in overtime will cement that.

14u Silver – Angels France A vs. Temecula Warriors

Almost every single age group, the Angels from France have been in the championship game, winning in every single age group possible. Next on their list was trying to win the 14u Silver division but had the Temecula Warriors standing in their way.

When the two teams met up with one another in the preliminaries, the Angels controlled every aspect, especially in the goal category, winning by a score of 8-1. But as we know from the 14u Platinum division, anything can happen in the finals.

The Angels knew that they were not interested in participating in any sort of upset, so they knew they had to play tough hockey right out of the gate.

And they did just that.

The Angels, led by Alex Gauze and Elliot Mari, put up 4 goals in the first period, peppering every shot onto Warriors goaltender Trevor Fife. Although Nicholas Mardani scored for the Warriors in the opening frame, it seemed that the Angels were in complete control of the pace of the hockey game.

Things would not change in the second period, as the Angels would tally another 4 goals, while Nael Hallards was perfect in between the pipes, the Angels would win yet another Silver championship, winning by a score of 8-1.

14u Club – Labeda Jets vs. Notion

The last championship of the day was the one that finally wrapped up the u14 division would be the 14u Club, with the Labeda Jets playing Notion in the final.

As a matter of fact, when the 2 teams played each other a few days ago, Notion were the ones who pulled away with the 6-3 win, that being, their only win in round robin. Due to this loss, the Jets finished with a 2-2 record, just missing the cut for the Silver division, meaning a club championship would be a replacement for their heartbreak.

It was a great day for Jets forward Jayden Conde, who was all over the rink in this hockey game. Conde opened the scoring for the Jets, in what would be his first of many, giving the Jets the 1-0 lead. Soon after, Ian Alonso would tie the game, beating Jets goaltender Gerry Castaneda. After simply a few minutes into the hockey game, each team had a goal apiece, primed for an exciting matchup.

Later into the period, both teams would once again trade goals with each other, one after the other, when, Nick Woods would score for the Jets and Riley Tallas would even the score just seconds later to even it up at 2.

Luckily for the Jets, winding down to the end of the period, they would earn themselves some breathing room when Conde notched his second of the game to give the Jets the 2-1 lead after the first period into halftime.

Conde was only just getting started.

Early into the second period, he would find his way past the Notion defense to complete his hat-trick, as the Jets added to their lead, going up by 2. The Notion would answer right back with a goal of their own, however, the strong play of Castaneda down the stretch proved to be the difference, as the Jets would hold on for the 4-3 victory, to claim the 14u Club title.