By Lonny Lovins
We had a weekend of great weather and great hockey. Another Nor Cal Cup Final is in the books, and for everyone involved it was a great time. We will recap the action, and bring another great Nor Cal Cup season to a close. On a side note, I am now into my 2nd week of using the Rink Rat Identity Krysis wheels. They are just as good as advertised. I get no burn out on the front wheel when I take off, and the hold I get when I am cornering, it is like I am skating on rails. As long as they have the lasting power of my old splits, they will definitely be the best wheel I have ever skated on. I wanna thank Nick and Angel at Rink Rat for giving me the opportunity to test them out. Now onto the hockey.
Cub Division – The future of roller hockey faced off in our first championship game. The Revision Revolution played against the San Jose Inline Sharks for a tight battle of kids whose heads don’t quite reach the cross bar yet.
The Sharks started the scoring when 7 minutes into the game, #9 Bryce West scored on a pass play from #17 Trey Burbank. The Sharks would retain the momentum and score 40 seconds later with future sniper #4 CJ Floyd scoring on a play that was nicely assisted by #81 Tyler Green. The Sharks would continue the flurry of goals, scoring for a third time in 2 minutes with #81 Green getting the goal this time from #4 Floyd. The Revolution would not go quietly, as they would score their first goal of the game off of the next face off. When #1 Isaiah Castro would put the team on his shoulders and score the big goal to get the Revolution on the board. The Revolution would cut the Sharks lead to 1 goal a few minutes later, when #1 Castro passed the puck over to #11 Drew Larioza for the goal. The Sharks minor lapse would end, as they would score again to recapture the 2 goal lead, when #24 Nolan Guild would score to make the score 4-2. With about a minute left in the period, it would be #1 Castro who would score again to close the gap. Then again off of the following face off, #1 Castro would again walk through the Sharks team and tie the game. After the whirlwind first period, the game would be tied at 4.
In the 2nd period, the story would be the stellar play of the Revolution goaltender Cooper Huang. Cooper would not allow a goal the entire period, stifling the Sharks on multiple good opportunities. #1 Castro would continue his onslaught of goals, as he would score again to give the Revolution a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the game. The Revolution would score one more goal for good measure as #11 Larioza would score again. Final score Revolution 6, Sharks 4.
Atom Division – In our Atom gold final, we had a heck of a game between the Delta River Rats and the Silicon Valley Quakes. The River Rats would get on the board first when #29 Tyler Grogan would score a goal assisted by one of the other Tylers, #5 Tyler Webb. The Quakes would not let the River Rats hold their lead for long, with #41 Donovan Bradford scoring a nice goal from #12 Shaun Rios a few minutes later. Both teams would skate 1-1 until late in the period the River Rats would retake their lead when #5 Webb would score on a nice individual effort. The River Rats would increase their lead to 2 goals when #21 Johnathon Arruda would score a goal assisted by none other than #5 Webb. The period would end 3-1 in favor of the Rats.
The 2nd period would belong to the Quakes, and more importantly the Quakes goalie Evan Tompkins. Evan would play strong enough to give his team a chance to win, as he didn’t give up a goal in the 2nd period. The Quakes, rejuvenated by their goaltender’s play, started scoring some goals to get back into the game. #19 Caden Ghiossi would score a pair of goals less than a minute apart at roughly the 12:00 mark in the second period. This would tie the game, and we would skate 3-3 for about 8 minutes. With four minutes left in the game, is would be #12 Shaun Rios that would score to break the tie and give the Quakes their first lead. A minute later #41 Bradford would get on the board again when #39 Cameron Britt would feed him the puck. In the waning seconds, #41 Bradforf would score to give the Quakes all they would need, as they completed the come back and took home the gold medal by a score of 6-3.
In the Atom silver final the San Jose Inline Sharks took on the Revision Revolution for the Cub final team rematch and revenge game. The Sharks would start off quickly with their big goal scorer #5 Aiyhden Martinez scoring to give them a quick lead. #5 Martinez would score again to give the Sharks some breathing room. They would need that breathing room, because the Revolution would take the ensuing face off down the rink and score their first goal. #29 DJ Orca scored to give the Revolution a chance to get back in the game. The Sharks would get their cushion back 2 minutes later when #12 Landon Meriales would score to reopen the 2 goal lead. #12 Meriales would be at it again to give the Sharks a 3 goal lead going into the break.
The second period was all about defense, as neither team was willing to give the other any more goals. Both team’s goalies played really well and shut the other team down. The Sharks had done enough in the first to ensure their victory would be complete. In the end there were no more goals and no more chances for the Revolution. The Sharks would skate easily to the victory and the gold medal by a score of 4-1.
The top scorer for the Atoms had 14 goals and 2 assists in round robin play, he hailed from the River Rats, and it was #5 Tyler Webb. The top goalie for the Atoms made 31 saves on 37 shots for a .838 save%, also from the River Rats #4 Tyler Worthington.
Mite Division – The Mite gold championship featured the Delta River Rats and the Revision Revolution. The River Rats have a very strong team, and they seem to be getting better and better with age. This poses a scary problem for teams that have to face them in any championship. I would love to see them at NARCh finals to see how they would stack up against other Mites across the country. The Revolution are also a strong group, so it is always fun to see them play against the River Rats. The River Rats got on the scoreboard first in this game, when their up and coming goal scorer from Atoms, #15 Tyler Webb, scored on a pass play from #33 Dominic Hofferber. Less than a minute later it would be the River Rats again scoring with #42 Jake Fischer getting the goal. The Revolution would come back with a goal to continue the fast flurry of goals, when #21 Kevin Nguyen would score on a play assisted by #87 Ryan Willey. #15 Webb from the River Rats would give his team some insurance when he would score less than a minute after that on another unselfish play by #33 Hofferber. #15 Webb would be at it again for the hat trick, when he would get a pass from #99 Jack Wedoski at 7 minutes into the first. The Revolution would fight back, getting their second goal of the game when #99 Maddie Nelson would score on a pass from #87 Willey. With less than a second left in the first period, #15 Webb would again find the net, when playmaker #33 Hofferber would get the puck to him in an open area. This would give the River Rats a 5-2 lead heading into the half.
In the second period, the River Rats would hold onto their lead getting only one more goal at 16:31 by #5 Lukas Philpott. The Revolution would scrap and fight for a couple more goals late when #8 Zach Nolte would score, followed by #3 Matthew Acosta scoring to close the gap. Unfortunately for the Revolution, there wasn’t enough time left for them to complete the comeback, and the River Rats would hold on for the well deserved Gold medal, by a score of 6-4.
The Mite silver championship brought us the San Jose Inline Sharks playing against the Silicon Valley Quakes. This game like many of our other games, was a close game. The Sharks would be hitting on all cylinders right off the drop of the puck. Less than a minute into the game, #21 Cameron Green would score to give the Sharks the lead. A few minutes later, it would be the Sharks scoring again with #17 Aidan Jones getting the goal. With less than a minute left in the first period, the Sharks would complete a flawless first by scoring again, when # 21 Green would score again, this time his goal would be assisted by #43 Rushil Patel.
The second period would start similarly to the first period with the Sharks scoring less than a minute into the frame, when #17 Jones would get his second goal of the game. The Quakes would score their first goal of the game midway through the period, when #12 Shaun Rios scored a goal that was assisted by #22 Nico Chiala. The Quakes would seize the momentum created by their first goal, by scoring a second goal by #27 Noah Finger. #88 Nolan Oka would get the assist and it seemed as if the Quakes were in business. The Quakes would cut the lead to 1 goal, when #27 Finger scored again less than a minute later. The Sharks would give themselves some breathing room again when #5 Aiyhden Martinez would score. That is all the Sharks would need, as no more goals would be scored by either team, and they would skate to the 5-3 victory.
The Mite top scorer had 7 goals and 4 assists for 11 points in round robin. From the Sharks, #17 Aidan Jones. The top goalie for Mites made 35 saves on 41 shots for a .854 save%. From the Delta River Rats #13 Drake Daley.
Pee Wee Division – The Pee Wee gold final had the Revolution 00’s playing against the San Jose Inline Sharks. This game was a tale of two halves, with the Sharks owning the first half, and the Revolution owning the second half. In the first half the Sharks would score less than a minute in, when #88 Ethan Tang would take a headman pass from #12 Chase Edwards and deposit it in the back of the net. The Sharks next goal would come from #10 Brandon Chapin when he would get a nice pass from #88 Tang. The 3rd goal for the Sharks would come a few minutes later, and it would be scored by #39 Cooper Perry. The Sharks 4th and final goal of the period would come from #10 Chapin again, with #21 Jesse Varela picking up the assist.
The Revolution would find themselves in a bit of a hole going into the second period. They would not give up, and would own the second period. The Revolution would not give up any more goals in the game, and they would start their comeback bid 2 minutes into the stanza when #58 Alex Muchyinski would score on a pass from #37 Neil Liebscher. The Revolution would cut the Sharks lead by another goal midway through the period when #37 Liebscher would find #27 Ryan Kriegbaum. The Revolution would score one more time with less than a minute to play when, the man with the magic hands, #37 Liebscher found #12 Bryce Yeager to cut the deficit to one goal. Unfortunately for the Revolution there was not enough time to complete the comeback, as the Sharks would cling to the lead and hold on for the 4-3 victory.
The Pee Wee silver final had the Revision Black team and the Nor Cal Extreme play each other. This game was one of the few games in the finals that wasn’t as close as it should have been.
In the first period, the Extreme scored to take an early lead, when #2 Jake Kirby scored a goal that was assisted by #10 Brandon Pacciorini. Revision would tie the game with 6 minutes left in the first, on a goal by #71 Mattieu Robinson, assisted by #6 Jaden Guzman. The first period would end in a 1-1 deadlock.
The second period would give us a flurry of goal scoring by the Revolution, starting with #10 Nolan Mahaney scoring early in the period. #45 Dylan Franks would start scoring at will, as he scored a natural hat trick to really put the game out of reach. The Extreme would muster up 1 more goal when #10 Pacciorini would score to try and get his team back in. It would be too little, too late as the Revolution would hold onto their lead and skate to a dominating 6-2 victory.
The Pee Wee top scorer had 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points in round robin play, from the Revolution Black squad #45 Dylan Franks. The top goalie for Pee Wee would be the goalie tandem of Caleb Stanley and Alan Reigle who combined for a save% of .954.
Bantam Division – The Bantam gold final featured a couple of familiar foes in the NCR Tour Elite and the Nor Cal Extreme. This was a good game, that got a little ugly late. I will get to that in a minute. As for the game itself, the Elite got on the board first 7 minutes in when #81 Anthany Carter scored. The Extreme would come right back with a goal when #50 Sam Blakewell scored on an assist by #12 Ryan Kowata. The First period would end with the score tied at 1.
In the second period it was all Extreme, as they scored right at the beginning of the period, when #4 Caleb Hermle would score a nice goal. It would be the Extreme again late in the period when #50 Blakewell would again be the recipient of a #12 Kowata pass. Sam’s brother #46 Joe Blakewell would give his team the coffin nail goal with just over a minute to play. The Extreme would go on to win this game pretty easily. Unfortunately their celebration was marred by a dirty play late when one of their players stuck his knee out and hurt a player from the other team. It was an unnecessary cheap shot, and I hope that I don’t see anything like that going forward from this player, or any other player. It is the one part of our game that I think is unnecessary, and I truly believe it gives a black eye to our sport when things like this happen. I know that Coach Matt Brown does not condone such activity and I commend him for the work he does with his players. I hope that he impresses upon this player the ramifications of his actions when he puts himself above the team. Alright off of my soap box.
The Bantam silver championship was the best game of the tournament, and the best game I have seen in any of our tournaments all year. It makes sense that this game would be a game at the Finals, as it was the perfect stage for such an epic performance. The Stockton Thunder and the SJ Inline Sharks faced off for an epic battle. The Thunder got off to a hot start when #17 Kellen Ireland took the puck off of a turnover and scored the 1st goal. The Thunder would pad their lead with a minute left in the period when #17 Kellen Ireland scored again off a nice pass from #19 Brooke Bryant. The Thunder would take a 2-0 lead into the half.
The second half would start with the Sharks cutting the lead by a goal when #91 Nick Ahmed would score from #9 Ian Duffy. #17 Kellen Ireland would be back at it again when he would score his 3rd goal of the game on a play by #4 Dalton Parkhurst. The Sharks would catch fire at this point in the game scoring 2 quick goals to tie the game. These goals were scored by #55 Jacob Barlow, and #91 Ahmed less than 40 seconds apart. The Thunder would regain their lead a minute later, when #27 Michael Applegate would find the net. The Thunder would cling to this lead as the Sharks threw everything they could at the net. Eventually something had to give, and it was the Sharks’ hero from the semi-finals #9 Ian Duffy scoring to tie the game and thrust us into an overtime thriller.
The first overtime period gave us a goalie clinic, as each team had chance after chance of ending the game. It was to no avail, as Colton Jack and Adam Contreras stood on their heads through the overtime period.
The second overtime period gave us a winner, and we didn’t have to wait long. It would be the Thunder scoring the game winner, when, who else, but #17 Ireland would score on an absolutely beautiful play by #27 Applegate. The bench would clear and Ireland would be mobbed by his team. Unfortunately someone has to win, and someone has to lose, but the show that these two teams put on was amazing. Kudos to both.
The top scorer for the Bantam Division had 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in round robin play. From the Nor Cal Extreme it was #4 Caleb Hermle. The top goalie for Bantam Division was perfect in round robin stopping all 29 shots he faced. Also from the Extreme #29 Nick Leacox.
Midget Division – The Midget gold final featured a couple of teams that are quickly becoming great rivals; Bender Nation and the NCR Tour Elite. This game was a defensive battle by two teams that are known for their offensive prowess. Bender Nation would get on the board first midway through the first period when #77 Christian Acosta found the net on a pass from TJ McGuire. Goaltender Harrison Buerle played well and turned away everything that NCR had to offer in the first. Bender Nation would carry a 1-0 lead into the half.
In the second period, the NCR Tour Elite would get back to the basics of controlling the flow of play and trying to spring a guy for the home run pass. Bender Nation coach, Tyler Kruenegle, very wisely had his team keep the pressure on the Elite not allowing them much set up time. As with most games like this, it only takes 1 mistake for the puck to end up in your own net. An errant pass by Bender Nation found the stick of #27 Nolan Garcia, and he made no mistake on a perfect pass over to #25 Chris Visico who sniped to tie the game. At this point it was like period 1 all over again. Neither team would get another goal, and we would have another overtime game.
This overtime would be really exciting, but really short, as Bender Nation took the opening face off and went down the rink for a good chance, unfortunately they missed the net on what could have been the game winner. The puck came to #18 for the Elite, Matt Swanson, who found a streaking #27 Garcia. Garcia made no mistake and ended the game before we were even a minute into overtime. Final score NCR 2, Bender Nation 1.
The Midget Silver final gave us the Bantam NCR Tour Elite team playing up, against the Revision Revolution. This game would have been a lot closer, but the Revolution got into familiar penalty trouble, giving the potent NCR powerplay a real good chance to get rolling. The NCR scored 3 first period goals on the powerplay. #26 Justin Kirker scored a pair on the powerplay and #81 Anthany Carter had a power play goal as well, to give the NCR team a 3 goal lead. The Revolution would calm down a bit and score a goal of their own when #68 Chris Hrncir scored off of a pass play by #10 James McGaughy.
The second period would start with NCR killing a penalty. After the penalty kill was over, the Revolution found themselves in the box again. Justin Kirker would only need a minute on the powerplay to score his 3rd goal of the game, and the Elite would be rolling again. Revision sniper #68 Hrncir would score again a couple of minutes later to get the Revolution within 2 goals. The theme of the game for the Revolution was penalties and again they would surrender a powerplay goal when #95 Danny Higa would extend the lead to 3 goals again. The Revolution’s #6 Tyler Trevino would score on a nice individual effort to give the his team hope of coming back. NCR would put the nail in the coffin when dangler #95 Higa would score to put the game out of reach. Final score NCR 6, Revolution 3.
Top scorer for the Midget division had 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points in round robin play, from the NCR Tour Elite #18 Matt Swanson. The top goaltender made 33 saves on 39 shots for a .846 save%, also from the NCR Tour Elite, Noah Schwarzbach.
Jr/Men’s Division – The top two teams in the Jr/Men’s division were the NCR Tour Elite adult squad, and the NCIS. This was a fast game between two really good teams. NCIS got the scoring started early when #21 Paul Hermle took a pass from #12 Matt Van Atta and deposited in the goal. NCR would come right back with the game tying goal a few minutes later when #81 Jacob Hickey found a little bit of his old skill and scored. Less than a minute later #73 Travis Suyeishi scored on a nice pass play from #7 Kyle Aldrich. NCR would pad the lead a few minutes later when #7 Aldrich took it upon himself to score a nice little low blocker snipe. The first period would end with NCR up 3-1.
The second period would get off to a slow start, and would continue slowly until midway through the period, when #21 Joe Drake would score to increase the lead to 3 goals. NCIS would put together a late scoring play with #21 Hermle again getting another pass from #12 Van Atta. This goal would provide some hope, but in the end it was all NCR as they skated to a 5-2 victory, and the Jr/Men’s Gold medal.
The top scorer had 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points. From NCR #61 Rich Nash. The top goalie came from the NCR Tour Elite Midget team playing up in Men’s. He had a save% of .857, goaltender Noah Schwarzbach.
This tournament was fantastic, and I am already looking forward to next season, but first we have the rest of the NARCh season to finish up. Finals in Florida is going to be amazing, and I am looking forward to that just as much. I hope that I get to see more of our California teams in Florida this year. I know that many of the teams bail out because the competition is too stiff at NARCh finals for their kids, but in order for the kids to get better, it is good for them to see better competition. It may or may not make a difference in the short term, but in the long run, life lessons are taught through tough situations, not choosing the path of least resistance. Until our next meeting on the hockey rink, keep shooting the lights out.