21 teams competed in 4 divisions here in Buffalo. Let’s see how the event played out…
The Bantam was our largest division with 8 teams competing for the coveted NARCh medal. After 4 round robin games the top two seeds competed for the AAA championship and the 3rd and 4th seeds for the AA championship. The top 4 seeds were only separated by one point and four total goals against. The AA final was a battle of Ontario as the Burlington Wave faced off against the Mississauga Mission Rattlers. The game was close in the first half as the teams were knotted at three. The Wave broke the game open in the 2nd half with six unanswered goals. #19, Shane Conacher led the way with three goals and two assists. Final score: 9-3. In the AAA championship it was the top seeded Buffalo Storm against 2nd seeded Hot Shots Inferno from Pittsburgh. This game didn’t heat up until late in the second half. With the Storm holding a comfortable three goal lead the Inferno stormed back with three goals in the last two minutes to tie the game, two of those goals in the last forty four seconds. We needed a shootout to determine a winner and it was the Inferno’s #62, Nate Guewicz who would play the hero. Final score 6-5.
The Midget division had four teams competing. The Hot Shots Inferno and the Mississauga Mission Rattlers White would dominate through round robin play and into the semifinals, each with convincing wins en route to the championship. The Inferno would win their head to head matchup in round robin play. The championship mirrored their round robin matchup as the teams went back and forth for the first seventeen minutes and were knotted at three at half. The second half was all Rattlers as the Renouf brothers showed why they duo in their age bracket by filling the scoresheet with four unanswered goals to close out the Inferno by the score of 7-3.
The Junior division also had four teams competing. This was another competitive division as no team went undefeated in round robin play. The Revision Buffalo Wings and Buffalo Fusion moved onto the Final with semifinal wins over the Bar Down Billionaires and Pittsburgh Fusion. There was tons of talent and speed on the floor for this championship game. The teams traded goals back and forth and there was never more than a one goal lead. With about two minutes left the Wings decided to keep possession holding out for the last scoring chance. It looked as if the Fusion broke up the play, but the puck bounced onto #61, Justin Banaszak’s stick and put the winner home as time expired. #97 from the Fusion, Kyle Schultz has a tremendous game scoring three goals and adding an assist in the losing effort. Final score 5-4.
Men’s division had five teams compete. There was a wide range of talent here featuring some Pro level players. The Buffalo Wings would grab the top seed going undefeated in round robin. In the division’s playoff game the Excitement A would rally late to finish off the Mississauga Rattlers. This set up an all Buffalo final. The Tour Excitement A came out firing scoring the first three goals. The Wings would get one back with under a minute left in the half to pull within two. The score would stay that way until about midway through the second when #96, Ryan Vertino would notch his third of the game to seal the win for the Excitement. Final score 5-2.
We’re about a month away from Finals and everyone’s talking about it. Florida will be awesome! Make sure you get your teams registered as the deadline is fast approaching. Mike and I had a great time this weekend as I’m sure Alex and Jeremy did in Florida and Daryn in So Cal.