Winding down on Day 1

By Jeremy Ellis

We are heading into the twilight hours of the first day of the 2013 NARCh season here at Silvercreek.  The action today has been non-stop with a broad spectrum of ages and skill levels taking the floor.  From the start of the day with squirts, the prime time Pro games and the end of the night mens silver and platinum, the atmosphere here was electric throughout.

As I sit here pounding out this blog, I am having a sensation of deja-vu.  It was 6 months ago that I sat in this very room for NARCh finals producing blogs.  As this first event gets into high gear, I stop for a moment to renew old friendships while marveling at the talent level on display here.  Smiles were plentiful around the rink as teams shook off the dust of the off season for this year’s first event.  As Daryn mentioned in a previous blog, teams in the youth divisions are constantly evolving as players age.  What is good to see for the overall health of the sport is when a program continues to fill out teams for the various age groups as players continue to grow. 

There are some familiar faces here with local teams and then there are the globe trotters; teams coming in from Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, and even Hawaii.  The Brazilians are a great bunch.  Dressed in custom made green hoodies, they have been ominous around the rink checking out the action on all three floors.  The new Hockey House rink in Vancouver has produced some talented entries as well.

Six divisions laced up the skates today as things commenced.  The rink was extremely crowded all day long and the pro division matchups welcomed a full house jammed in around rink 1. Alkali RPD and the Las Vegas Tour Rebels got things going in Pro this afternoon.  While the Rebels jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Alkali stormed back and finished off a 6-3 victory.  They later would put together a full team effort in accomplishing the rare feat of shutting out the PAMA Cyclones 5-0.  Joining Alkali with 4 points after two games were the Tour Mudcats.  The cats were able to hold on against PAMA in their first tilt 3-2.  Special teams played a major role in this one as the Mudcat penalty kill stymied the Cyclones on numerous opportunities.  Concluding the Pro action on day 1, the Mudcats put in a dominating 9-1 performance over Cal Beach.  Also tied at the top with 4 points are the Breakaway Bullies.  The Bullies grinded out a one goal victory over Cal Beach and then ended their day with a win over Las Vegas.

While those three teams are in the driver’s seat for the playoffs, the three remaining winless teams will hit their pillows tonight preparing for a must win situation on Saturday.  Playoffs have 4 slots so these squads will look to get up off the mat. There are quite a few games to keep an eye on tomorrow.  PAMA and Vegas look to pick up their first points as they face off at 4pm.  Seeding will be on the line later on as the Mudcats face both Alkali and the Bullies, while Alkali closes out their round robin against Breakaway.  By 10pm tomorrow we will have the playoff bracket made and a preview of the 2 semifinal matchups for Sunday, so stay tuned!

Squirt and Pee Wee are two of the largest divisions here this weekend and they are both in full swing.  Due to the size, these divisions will seed out into a gold and silver playoff.  In Squirt, the Hockey House is primed with 6 points after 3 games.  A tough one goal win over HB Mission Militia 11th Battalion earned them that spot. In Pee Wees, 4 teams are undefeated as all teams have played 3 of their 4 round robin contests.  It will most likely come down to tie breakers in seeding, which means NCR Tour Elite and the Norcal Extreme have a definite edge as neither one have allowed a goal against in the three games played.

The bantam round robin is nearly over as well.  Like the previous two discussed divisions, Bantam allows 8 teams into the playoff bracket with the top 4 playing the gold division and the next four silver.  KIHA Warriors, Labeda XDH, and the NCR Tour Elite 96’s all are unblemished at 3-0.

Grab a hearty breakfast and a tall cup of Starbucks for Saturday’s 6am start.  We will see 89 games on 3 floors take place tomorrow.  A well-played Saturday earns these teams a right to play on Sunday and Monday for medals and trophies.  Make sure to stop by and say hi to all the vendors who help make this event possible.  The NHL starts again tomorrow and NARCh is in full swing for 2013; Life is Good!!!  See you at the rink!