Day 8 of the NARCh FINALS was another solid one here at Silver Creek Sportsplex. The men’s divisions started today and filled up the schedule. I wasn’t juggling as many projects today, which allowed me to take in and enjoy watching games and reflect a little on the tournament up to this point.
I’m very happy with the parity through the silver and gold divisions. My goal is the same every year, and that’s to create the most balanced divisions possible. Through bantam, midget, and junior gold there were 86 games played. There was only 1 mercy rule through those 86 games and it only happened because the team was already 0-3 and knew that they were out of playoff contention, so they basically folded. That’s a stat I’m very proud of.
Bantams already ended, but I got to watch the playoffs for midget and junior play out today. In the midget semi-finals both games were great, especially the one between the West Covina High Rollers and Labeda XDH. We went into overtime tied at 0-0, which is very rare. Labeda XDH would win it on a perfectly placed shot and I was happy I got the celebration on video, because it was a good one!
The Mission Bauer Outcasts would get by the top seeded Bender Blades in the other semi-final. As advertised, the championship was a very balanced back and forth battle that the Outcasts would pull out 4-3 to be crowned NARCh Midget Gold Champions.
I’m happy for Nick Boyarsky and his boys. They’ve been huge NARCh Supporters for many years and they’ve won a ton of regional qualifiers, but this is his first NARCh FINALS Cup. Well deserved and earned. NARCh is never easy to win, but it’s crazy that he’s had to be this patient to finally get his. I bet it only makes it that much sweeter.
The Junior Gold Division was just as tight. The day started with the highest two seeds getting defeated in the quarter finals. The #1 Seed Red Army fell to the #8 Seed KIHA Warriors while the #2 Seed Mile High Mustangs were defeated by the #7 Seed Tour Excitement. Both were great games. For the semi-finals, the Mission/Bauer Raiders got past the KIHA Warriors to make it to the championship, while the Revision Vanquish needed overtime to get past the Tour Excitement by a final of 2-1. Both of these programs have had success at this event already with teams in other ages winning titles, but someone would have to settle for 2nd. Vanquish would take the title 5-2, but it was really 3-2 and the last two were empty-net goals as the Raiders pulled the goalie to attempt to tie the game with the extra attacker.
The Men’s Skills Division tonight was super entertaining! I can’t wait for Itan and Mike to put together the highlight video for this one. I will have photos for this up tomorrow by mid-day at the latest as well.
The players from New Zealand stole the show, with some unbelievable goals by the shooters and saves by the goalies. It’s their first time to the NARCh FINALS and it took a ton of time fundraising and saving to get here, so it’s great to see them having so much fun. Also should give a shout out to Pat Lee who coached them and really stressed to them how cool NARCh Hockey is and convinced them to put in the effort to make this happen.
The weekend is our lightest portion of the tourney then we bring on the platinum teams. Ready for Day 9, see you tomorrow.