So much to tell…so little time!!
First…let me apologize for this being my first blog. We have been working around the clock on things that are under our control and things that are beyond our control. But…we are WORKING to make this an amazing event for all involved.
I won't waste time talking to you about the set up etc, because I don't want to bore you!! This is my first time inside IceWorks and I have to say that I am impressed with the facility. The setup is pretty cool and it's a rink that gets packed quickly. The stat boards look amazing, the banners behind the glass at the far ends of the rink are new and brighten the rink tremendously and the sponsors have a great set up on the main rink. The restaurant here is right in the middle of everything and the food is very good and service is quick. During world cup games it's been hard to find a seat, especially yesterday when the Colombians took over and the place erupted as Colombia won in the round of sixteen.
But on to the hockey….we need to catch you up on a few things.
The atom division saw some good hockey and a unique concept for the playoffs. Everyone in this division got a ton of hockey. The 4vs 5 game was first, the winner of that game would go on to the semi final game and the loser would automatically be the bronze medalist in the AA division. We wanted to make sure that everyone in this division left with something. The Cougars would end up defeating Pittsburgh Mission Fusion, and then losing to the Reebok Destroyers in the semi. Because of the result of the other semi, the Destroyers would face the Roadrunners in the AAA Championship game and the Gladiators would face the Cougars in AA. Both games were very close but your champs would be the Destroyers and Gladiators. I have to admit; two players truly caught my eye this weekend. One- I have been saying his name wrong for years and finally got it right the past couple years- Matthew Mania is truly an awesome player and wanted the Championship win BAD!! On the Roadrunners, Joy Dunne is also a player that can win a game by herself if she so chooses. She had a great tournament and her and Mania played together in the 2 on 2 competition and won that running away! The Gladiators goalie, Alex Denny is just sickkkkk! The kid is a brick wall in net and propelled the Gladiators to victory in the AA Championship.
If you would have told me that Tour STL (MO) was going to be in the masters championship after their first day of games I would have told you that you were crazy!! They didn't look too good in the game that O'Kane, Kettler and I did play by play for as Phat Tape would beat them. Phat Tape didn't play much better as the tournament went on, as Captain Joe Bertaccini led that team with John Gelement and his bum knee. It was good to see them sign Koko Radijkan from Long Island to a last minute deal right before the tournament. But Phat Tape would fall to the Scorchers in the semi. Ron Beilsten and Tour STL would defeat the Marple Gladiators in the semi but get trounced in the championship game 8-0 by the Scorchers.
As we moved through the day, there were so many unbelievable games, I got caught up running from rink to rink as it seemed like they were all in overtime. You couldn't fathom what was going to happen next. The gold division saw the 1, 2, 3, and 5 seeds advance to the semis. All of them would win by one goal except for the #2 seed Demons who would defeat the Express 4-2. Every single game could have gone either way, and the hockey was phenomenal. As the gold playoffs went on, the games got more and more lopsided. The Philadelphia Liberty would win by five in their semi game and Top Gunn would win by three. That would mean that the #1 and #3 seeds would be in the finals and the Liberty would walk away with it 7-3 as top goalie Ben Dahms would backstop his team to victory. And talk about taking over a game?? Brendan Bradley did exactly that for the Liberty with four goals in the final! The parody in this division was outstanding. The #8 seed Team Hot as Fire almost knocked the eventual champions out in the first round. Team Hot as Fire made the playoffs by just two goals against. Such a close division.
The Silver playoffs were even more whacky!!! The 7th and 8th seeds would end up in the finals as Team Rinos (Colombia) and the St Louis Gremlins (MO) would play a game that had two totally different styles of teams battling it out. The Gremlins like to get it and go and Team Rinos play a controlled game, and you can tell they know exactly how to play with one another as their passing is a strength of this team. 90% of their passes are tape to tape and hits players in stride. Once the Gremlins scored a minute into the game, Team Rinos would slow things down and control the rest of the game winning 3-1 and engineering the BEST celebration I have seen in some time! I know I'm a tournament director, but deep down I always pull for those guys!!
The Bronze game was one of the more intense games of the day. Tour Excitement would take on the Philadelphia Demons. This situation was the exact opposite of the silver playoffs as the two top seeded teams were playing here. It was a back and forth game and every goal caused an eruption from the scoring bench. It was a fun game to watch. I felt like I was part of a soap opera as Dave Spina from Tour Excitement came to me prior to the start of the game and said he was "nervous as hell, because I don't know how much longer I've got in this game." Don't worry Dave…there's still masters too!!! Dave and his Excitement team couldn't pull this one out as the Demons would win by two but both teams should be extremely proud as the game was truly entertaining.
All in all, the first weekend had some ups and downs, and trust me, we are working our hardest to make everything go on the up and up!! That's our job here at TORHS2Hot 4Ice.
Action Photos are in high gear and MOSLIVE.COM is broadcasting ALL GAMES with a live stream and have DVDs for sale. Some games are even getting commentary from myself, Chris Treft, and Kyle O'Kane and Cody Kettler.
Even longer days are on the way beginning tomorrow as even more teams begin a brand new block here at nationals. We have posted coaches/captains meeting times so make sure you're there and keep up to date with all the happenings and scores here on our website, Facebook page and twitter.
Congrats to everyone who has participated so far and we can't wait to see everyone else who is on their way!!