By Casey Wedge
Saturday’s Theme: Shutouts
With the Los Angeles Kings on the brink of elimination in this years run for the cup they tied it up, 2-2, with just over 9 seconds to go. Definitely the fastest game of the series and it really sucked some people in. We had a good-sized group who were all done playing for the night and stuck around for a while waiting to see how the game would unfold.
The theme throughout the weekend has been shutouts on top of shut outs on top of more shutouts. Thirty-seven games into the weekend and we have 15 shutouts – a relatively uncommon feat for most roller hockey games. For most teams, it’s been a real combined effort between outstanding goaltending and defensemen stepping up and blocking shots. However, a few of the shut outs came from teams proving their the top competition in this weekends event.
Bantam play picked up again through the afternoon after having a block of games earlier in the morning. Through the round robin portion of the their tournament, the Brampton Warriors established themselves as the top dogs. With points coming from every skater on the team, the Warriors were able to find the back of the net 24 times and did not allow a single goal against in the preliminary rounds of the tourney. Also going 3-0 through round robin, the Pittsburgh Rebels scored 25 times but had 2 goals against, which earned them that 2nd place seed heading into playoffs. Again, the importance of goals against in tournament hockey is stressed here – each team went 3-0, but those two goals against knocked the Rebels out of contention for the first seed in the Bantam Gold bracket.
The Midget division got underway yesterday afternoon and a few teams came out extra fired up and ready to play. The Pittsburgh Rebels went 2-0 defeating the Buffalo Wings 8-4 and then Tour Excitement Green 6-3. The Rebels look to finish up their round robin play with another win in their 1:30 faceoff against the Butler Cobras.
The deadline to register for Finals is less than a week away! To say I\’m excited for NARCh Finals in Mississauga this July is an understatement. With the registration period closing so soon and the kick off of the tournament being right around a month away, it’s a popular topic around the rink this weekend. Parents and players are all asking questions about divisions, what we think about this year’s competition, and what we think about their chances at winning the ‘ship. We’re definitely not mind readers and part of what makes NARCh so special every year is that tournament atmosphere – a few late goals against could be the difference between getting the matchups you’re looking for or having to face a first or second place seed in the first round of playoffs and having to battle through it.
As I’m finishing this up, Patty Kane is probably still celebrating his third goal of the game with some pretty aggressive fist pumps and LA fans are pretty far down in the dumps. It was cool to see a little hometown pride last night from the local Buffalo teams as everyone around the rink kept saying variations of, “He’s from buffalo!” or “You know he’s from Buffalo right?” Between Patrick Kane adding another impressive playoff hatty to his resume and a pair of back-to-back overtime playoff games in the Squirt division, the rink was loud and the atmosphere was great. Be sure to check back throughout the day. We have Peewees kicking us off nice and early this morning followed quickly by the both Squirt championship games.