By Lonny Lovins
With the heart of the tournament underway, we are really starting to see some parity with the teams. There were a couple of exceptions, but for the most part the games were extremely close.
The Jr. division was our closest division today as far as the round robin games were concerned. In the 1st round of play, we had tie games in all but one game, and even that game was decided by 1 goal. Defensive play was on display as there was only one game where a team scored more than 3 goals. We are expecting more great games from this division, and it should make for a tough seeding come playoff time.
Midget Gold division is well underway, and their games have also been close. While not quite as tight as the Jr. Division, there is still going to be a lot to do as far as seeding goes, when the time comes. It should set up really nicely for tomorrow.
I just finished watching two really hard fought games to set the stage for our Bantam Gold final tomorrow. The Alkali Assault and the Tour Oakville Coyotes played a fantastic game in our first semi-final. Neither team was giving an inch during the game, as it went late into the 2nd period all knotted up at 1 goal apiece. Unfortunately a turnover late in the game by Alkali Assault resulted in a late goal by the Coyotes. Alkali would put forth a heck of an effort to try and even the score, but it would not come to be, as the Coyotes would add a 3rd goal and secure a spot in the final. The 2nd semi-final would feature the Mississauga Mission Rattlers and the NCR Tour Elite. This game was played all in the 2nd half, as the first half was a 0 – 0 stalemate. The Rattlers would open the scoring early in the 2nd period, and the game would open up significantly from there. The NCR Tour Elite tied it quickly, but the Rattlers came back strong with another goal less than a minute later. The Elite would stay on the Rattlers heels with another fast game tying goal. The Rattlers, in the end, proved to be too fast, and too strong for the Elite, as they added 3 unanswered goals. The Rattlers goaltender played strong down the stretch, and the Rattlers program continued their run of playoff success.
Our only final of the day came via the Squirt Gold kids. The Mission Bauer Bordercats faced off against the Mississauga Mission Rattlers in a back and forth tilt that featured scoring early and often. The Bordercats got on the board in the 1st and held the lead almost the whole way through. The Rattlers didn’t give up, as they constantly scored to keep the game close. The Rattlers would pour it on toward the end of the game, but to no avail as the Bordercats would take the gold medal by the score of 6-5. The Rattlers would take the Silver Medal, and the Sherwood Park Bullfrogs would round out our top 3 and take the bronze.
On a side note, I have been getting a lot of compliments from parents, players, coaches, and spectators, about how much fun they have been having, and how well the tournament has been run. While I am just a small cog in the machine that is NARCh, it still makes me really happy to hear this from so many people, and it makes me want to give a shout out to every one of the people who have been gracious to us with their comments. Just remember, this tournament is for all of you, and you are the reason why myself, and I am sure many others, keep coming back to work at these events. Thank you again for the words of praise, and I hope we keep meeting and exceeding your expectations. I look forward to another day on the floor tomorrow.