Final Stretch

West Coast Winters 2012 is winding down. Left on the docket are semi-finals and championships for the 10 divisions still playing.

As a spectator, the Pro Championship Game last night between Pama and Larceny was probably one of the highlights. We’ve had a lot of tight pro championships in the past, but in many cases it starts out slow and builds speed, like two fighters feeling each other out. Last nights game wasn’t really like that, it was more of a slugfest from the start, which provided plenty of end-to-end excitement for the spectators. As Alex mentioned in the previous blog, it was a very clean game. When the games are filled with power plays it’s less exciting and the team committing the penalties often feel like the calls against them were the difference in the game.

One thing worth noting in this game was the coaching strategy of Dave Cairns of the Larceny. He’s a smart guy that’s been around the sport for a very long time. Knowing what he had and what he was up against with the Cyclones style, his players were dumping the puck at times. It left people in the crowd kind of looking at each other dumbfounded, as most believe that possession of the puck is often what wins games. The strategy paid off and Larceny got to a few loose pucks in the corners, one of them resulting in a goal.

I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2012 Season. In terms of the number of teams, the way the games played out, the energy in the building, the smiles on peoples faces, everything. It really was a great tournament.

The only unfortunate thing about Winters each year is the fact that it’s the first big tourney and there’s no qualifying, which means we have more lopsided games since teams are all lumped together before being split for playoffs. It’s the only way it can be structured since many teams don’t know where they stack up against the competition, being the beginning of the season.

Most that have played a lot of NARCh understand this and know that the seeding process at qualifiers sets the stage for the FINALS to have very competitive divisions, since the teams are put in the appropriate division before the tournament starts.

One division that was amazingly balanced was the junior division. 8 teams played 16 preliminary games and not one game was over a 3-goal separation between the winner and the loser. For the gold title the Tour Stealth will play the Dawg Pound. In the prelims the Stealth won 2-1. For the silver title the Goucho’s will take on Shade45. In the prelims they tied 2-2. Should be some great rematches to see who takes home the titles.

I’d like to thank everyone for playing and I hope you had a great time.