28 teams competed at the NARCh Qualifier this Mothers Day Weekend at Rocky Mountain Roller Hockey in Lakewood, CO. There were a few newer travel teams in the younger ages but for the most part this event was heavily stacked with talented teams ready to take on all challengers at the NARCh FINALS in July. Here is a quick summary of how each division played out.
Mite Division – 5 teams made up this division, two Kodiak Teams, two Talons, and the Wolverines. The Mite Kodiaks have a history of very strong teams even at a National Level, so in this regional in their back yard they really weren’t challenged except for when they played each other. On the other end of the spectrum were the Talons and Wolverines, who have many new players and parents that are just starting to experience tournament play.
The Silver Championship was our most competitive game of the division between the Talons Red and Wolverines. The first time they met the Wolverines handled the Talons 10-6, but the rematch for gold was much closer. The Wolverines would lead at half 5-3 but the Talons would not fade away. They scored in the last minute to cut the lead to one and pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, but that’s as close as it would come and the Wolverines held on for the 8-7 win. Andrew Walton was the biggest difference in the game for the Wolverines, scoring 6 of his teams 8 goals.
The Gold Championship would come down to Kodiaks Green and Black. Both teams were lean in numbers, providing tons of rink time for all players. Kodiaks Green is led by the Sandoval Brothers, who have been regarded as a couple of the best players in the country in their age group. The Black Team is good, but the Green Team is great, and the outcome in the championship between all of these friends was a predictable one, with Green coming out on top 8-3.
Squirt Division – This 12u division consisted of 6 teams that were pretty spread across the board in terms of talent. The Kodiaks Red are a platinum team, while teams like the Wolverines and Ghost Riders are gold, and Eagles and Talons more of a silver level.
The Alkali Kodiaks and Kodiaks 99 Red rolled through the division undefeated and would face each other in the gold championship. The Alkali Kodiaks are very talented, but had some players on the younger side, as I even recognized some of the mites playing up. The 99 Red Squad is very strong, and I understand they were even missing a few players. In the championship the Alkali Kodiaks played hard, but the Red wore them down, controlling the puck and outshooting them 3 to 1. The final score was 6-1 and I’m excited to see how this Red team stacks up again other squirt platinum teams in San Jose.
In the squirt silver playoffs the Ghost Riders defeated the Colorado Wolverines 4-1 and the Rocky Mountain Talons defeated the US On Wheels Eagles 9-1, which was a bit of a shocking score since they lost to them yesterday. The Ghost Riders were a little too much for the Talons in this one with 6 different goal scorers contributing to the win while goalie Breyton Laskey turned away all 9 shots he faced on the way to a shutout.
Peewee Division – This was another 6 teams division. The Alkali Kodiaks AA and Team Mission were the best two teams and met for the gold championship after going through the prelims undefeated. Mission had the deeper talent in this one as #88 Jared Resseguie had 3 goals and a helper in the championship and #11 Mac Campbell had a hat trick himself. The Kodiaks did have over 20 shots, so it wasn’t completely lopsided, but Mission took gold by a final of 8-4.
4 teams battled it out in silver and 3 of those 4 teams were very competitive with each other. The Warriors pulled out a tight one against State Wars 98’s by a final of 4-3 to advance to the silver championship while the Alkali Kodiaks didn’t have much of a problem with the Rocky Mountain Talons to advance. This championship happened to be our last game of the tournament and we would need overtime to find a winner. The Warriors mounted a great comeback, scoring 3 goals in the last 5 minutes but would fall short in overtime and the Kodiaks won another gold.
Bantam Division – There are only 3 bantam teams in this market right now, but they’re all very solid. The Kodiaks, Wolverines, and Supreme played each other twice and the top two would meet in the final. None of them would go undefeated or lose every game. The Kodiaks beat the Wolverines and Supreme, but then tied the Wolverines and lost to Supreme the second time around. The Wolverines and Supreme split wins and loses with each other, so due to the fact that the Supreme beat the Kodiaks and the Wolverines tied them, the Supreme advanced to the final against the Kodiaks. Confused yet?
For such a balanced division the championship game was a little anticlimactic. The Kodiaks started solid and led at half 3-0. The real back breaker was the goal by Jason Cotton with 4 seconds left before half on the power play. The Supreme had chances, but Jacob Weatherly was solid in net for the Kodiaks, turning away all 14 shots he faced. The Supreme played frustrated, ended up in the box, and ended up on the bad end of a 7-0 defeat. You have to hand it to the Kodiaks, they came to play and dominated the championship, even though the teams split in the prelims.
Midgets – This 4-team division was similar to the bantams in the sense that all 4 teams are very good and the games between them are extremely competitive. In the playoffs the Kodiaks defeated the Supreme 4-2 and the Wolverines defeated the Stealth 5-2 to set the stage for the championship between these two powerhouse programs. The Kodiaks once again turned it up a notch in the championship and really dominated this one from start to finish. CJ Bateman, Jack Telford, and Jake Townsend all had 2 goals each in the championship and the Kodiaks rolled to a 7-1 victory.
Jr/Mens – This was a combination of juniors along with some of the most talented older players in the area. Even though there were only 4 teams it was some unbelievable hockey. The Mile High Mustangs had a few tight games with the Kodiaks and Stealth in the prelims, but the Kodiaks had their way with them in the semi-final. In the other semi-final it would come down to John Bovee’s two teams, the Tour Moose and Stealth. The Moose beat the Stealth by a goal the first time they met and then again in the semi to advance to the championship against the Kodiaks.
This championship was intense and very entertaining to watch. Both teams have lots of speed and they exchanged a ton of odd man rushes up and down the rink. The Kodiaks would have a two-goal lead heading into half, but the second half belonged to the Stealth. The game would be tied at 3-3 until about the 9-minute mark of the second when #7 for the Stealth JT Bovee would put the Stealth up for the first time in the game. The Kodiaks pressed hard at the end. They had a power play and pulled their goalie to put them on a 5-3 advantage, but Stealth defense and goalie Micheal Stef came up big at the end and the Stealth would win by the final of 4-3.
As usual Andy and Tina from RMR were very helpful and accommodating and another successful regional qualifier is in the books. Time to hit the office for a few days to regroup then off to our next stop, SGAA in Georgia next weekend!