By Jeremy Ellis
As we wrap up Day 2 here in San Jose, we look back on an exciting day of hockey, while looking ahead in anticipation to Sunday. Numerous divisions closed out the round robin portion of play, while others took to the floor for the first time. In Pro, the final four are set, with longtime foes meeting again seeking to hoist the cup.
Rookie staff member Casey Wedge broke it down this afternoon for the morning action, so I will get you caught up from there.
In the Pro division the fourth seed was up for grabs as games commenced today. The PAMA Cyclones took to the floor against the Las Vegas TOUR Rebels, with the winner jumping into the driver’s seat. It was the Cyclones who broke through first on a pretty goal. It was a big confidence boost for the black and white as they were coming off a rare shut out in last night’s tilts. We all know that you cannot keep that talented offense down long though and the precision passing and shooting carried over to the next game as they put away both the Rebels and Cal Beach to finish with 4 points and the fourth seed.
After handing the TOUR Mudcats their first loss of the tourney, the Breakaway Bullies met Alkali RPD with the first seed on the line. The Bullies got on the board first against RPD netminder Zack Lane. It was a hotly contested, tight game throughout. The Bullies performed well on the penalty kill to help their cause and maintain the slim lead. In the end they clung to a one goal margin as RPD pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Numerous shots were blocked, but one Travis Noe laser seeped through the traffic, only to meet the leather of Troy Redman’s goalie pads. The subsequent rebounds were whacked at and fought for as the clock reached zeros and the Bullies earning two points. Emotions ran high in this one and if they happen to meet again in the final, it will make for must see hockey. The semifinals end up like this: Breakaway versus PAMA at 1:40 immediately followed by Alkali RPD taking on the TOUR Mudcats at 2:35.
Team names were printed out and posted in the brackets for Squirts, Pee Wees, and Bantams. In the Squirt division, Hockey House Army takes on the Revision Mustangs 00. Meanwhile, the HB Mission Militia 5th and 11th Batallion square off. Four more squirt teams will lace them up in the Silver side for playoffs. Silicon Valley Quakes 2001, RV Mustangs 01, Reebok Jr Ducks Orange and the KIHA Warriors round out seeds 5 through 8 in this 15 team division. There are some pretty deep divisions here so making the playoffs in gold or silver is a high water mark for any team.
In Pee Wees, three teams all finished unblemished in Round Robin play. Those teams, the KIHA Warriors, NCR Tour Elite and the hockey House Army, welcomed the 3-1 NorCal Extreme as the 4th seed. Proving once again how valuable goals against are in tournament play, the extreme earned the fourth seed based on only allowing 3 goals while edging out the Quakes for entrance into the Gold Bracket. This division gets to sleep in and get a good breakfast tomorrow as the semifinal games do not commence until 1:20 PM
The Bantam division gets to hear the AM Rooster with playoffs in Bantam Silver beginning at 6am.Three more teams in Bantams ended up in the win column for all four games. NCR Tour Elite 96, Labeda XDH and the KIHA Warriors all were undefeated. Again, seeding in this tournament is crucial as the first loss for either KIHA or XDH will be their last loss in semifinal elimination play.
Well represented in this tourney in the KIHA program. Jamie Yoder has everyone there buying into the system play he preaches and the results prove it. KIHA teams are scattered throughout all the divisions and so far all eligible ones have qualified for the playoffs. The warriors utilize team speed and puck movement to keep the opposition on their heels. Both the Bantam and Pee Wee teams used this system en route to 8 points and high seeds in the gold divisions. Remember, you can check out the beautiful facility and all the KIHA programs first hand April 12-14 in Hawaii. It is a great even and the locals welcome teams with open arms. That weekend is always a circled highlight on the annual NARCh calendar.
The medals for this year are unveiled tomorrow as we crown champions in 10 separate divisions. Get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a wild ride!