By Jeremy Ellis
We have reached the halfway point days wise of this 2018 NARCh Finals here at the Cooler, but we still have a ton of hockey left to go. It is Tuesday here and it is a light day in regard to spotlighting the main arena. Only one championship game and no skills competitions today as we finished some divisions off yesterday. These are grinding days as I typically enjoy those championship games and skills to help break up the long days. The D1 final took center stage this morning with the Mission Black Ice and Tour Roadrunners squaring off in a familiar matchup.
Before that though we had an exciting 3rd place game in D1. Both Hockeymutt and the Stallions boast a good amount of talent and in any other situation they could easily be matched up playing for gold. Unfortunately for them this week, the Tour Roadrunners and the Mission Black Ice were tops in the division. These two teams were evenly matched, and it would go to overtime tied up at 2. It took half of the extra frame to find a winner and it came off of the stick of the Stallions Kyle Aldrich. Kyle played the entire OT and was in his second bracket of the event as he skated PRO with Konixx. Kyle has been one to watch this tournament as he has stepped up his game and scored some big goals this week. Looks like island life in the Caymans is good for your hockey game; who knew???
The D1 final jumped off immediately after between Black Ice and the Roadrunners. Let’s get right into the action for this one! It was quiet for the first 5 minutes of the first half when Brycon Johnson took a feed from PJ DiMartino and buried it short side to give the Black Ice a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Both teams had chances the rest of the way but outstanding goaltending by both Joel Eisenhower of the Black Ice and Rob Kowalcyzk of the Roadrunners kept the scoresheet entries scarce. The sheet ended up as spotless as possible with no penalties and only the one tally. Of note, Max Halvorsen took home Top Scorer with 10 points and Kowalcyzk was named Top Goaltender with a stellar save percentage of .914.
Of note in D1 – this is the 3rd straight year of Black Ice and the Roadrunners matching up in the final. The Black Ice have won all 3 and have shut out the Roadrunners each time – 4-0, 2-0, and this year’s 1-0 game. Vio is close to ‘breaking the Ice’ but he is going to need some offense after 3 straight goose eggs.
There is more than just D1 taking place now. Teams in 10U, 14U, and 18U are all taking the floor today. The 14s and 18s will finish round robin today and be seeded for playoffs starting this evening. In 18s, the Tour Roadrunners have looked stout along with the ISCA Grizzlies. Both are sitting at 3-0 and seem locked into platinum. The third seed will likely come down to tiebreakers with 4 teams currently with 4 points. Seeds 4, 5, and 6 will head to the gold bracket and the remaining teams in Silver.
The 14s have a similar outlook at the top with the Tour Roadrunners. Joining them are the Nickel City 716ers and the Jr. Gladiators. After 3 games, the 716ers hold the edge for the coveted 1 seed with more goals for. Both them and the Gladiators have only allowed 3 goals so it would go to the next tie breaker of goals for if necessary. The two teams sitting in seeds 2 and 3 will play later tonight with the championship game tomorrow. The night off is a huge advantage for teams in these divisions. There is a big group vying for the gold division seeds with 4 teams all holding a shot. The Roadrunners AA and Chill Lizards are locked into the Silver bracket.
Be sure to check out one of our sponsors sites www.Verbero.com Use the code NARCH50 for 50% off anything on the site. This is a huge deal! I am jumping on this one for the sticks alone. Verbero has revolutionized the game with their skate designs and sticks so be sure to take advantage of this one before its gone. SKILLS – The Skills competitions have been a blast this Finals. There have been some highlight reel goals and saves and the kids have had a blast taking part. The best part of the skills is that downtime on the rink to meet the other players. On Sunday we had a spirited 18U game between the ISCA Grizzlies and Team United. There was some good jawing during and after the game that required us to keep an eye on. 10 minutes later the boys were sitting next to each other on the rink laughing and chirping the other snipers together. Skills heal all wounds! We have one coming up on Thursday for the 12U division. Be sure to get registered at the merchandise booth. LIONELS VIDEOS – Be sure to head over to the NARCh webpage video section: http://www.narch.com/videos Lionel, who is from France and still walking tall after the World Cup, has been creating some amazing videos throughout the tournament. His style is truly unique, and each video is a story on its own. The NARCh Players pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are chock full of content as well, so be sure to visit those platforms.
We have done one podcast thus far so keep an eye out for a few more before the end of the week, who knows what we may strike a conversation about! OK, that is enough for now, so I will sign off. I am headed back out to the action on the floor, take care everyone and see you at the rink!