40 teams competed in the Nor Cal Cup Championships. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend of hockey to cap off the first Nor Cal Cup Season. The Silver Creek Sportsplex proved once again why it’s one of the best facilities in existence to hold a roller hockey tournament. Here’s a look back at how the champions were crowned.
Cubs – Northern California is a hotbed for cubs, as we once again had four teams compete. The gold championship would come down to the same two teams that battled for the title in the NARCh Regional in March, the Silicon Valley Quakes and the Northstars. The Northstars won that event and as a team they’ve improved tremendously. The Quakes have also improved, and play a team game that you will rarely see in cubs, with an emphasis on total teamwork. They shut down the top scorer of the Northstars and played incredible defense to win this low scoring championship game by a final of 4-0. Aiden MacLennan had a hat trick in the finale’.
We also had a cub silver championship where the hard working Spongebobs defeated the Delta River Rats. Every kid that played in the tournament got one of the huge medals, so every player left with a smile, which is always our goal with the cubs.
Skills – Fastest Skater – Rushil Patel – Silicon Valley Quakes
Goalie – Brett DeVincent – Silicon Valley Quakes
Sniper – Rylan Goodwin – Northstars
Atom Division – 3 teams made up the atom division, Delta River Rats, Puck Attack, and Pikachus. The Delta River Rats are coming off a big road trip, where they won the silver title at the NARCh Regional Qualifier in Irvine two weeks ago. They were the team to beat in Nor Cal all year long and they clearly had the most balance team in this division. Puck Attack has some good players and would meet the River Rats for the championship game, but the River Rats would take the title 7-2. Pikachus were a thrown together group and ended up in 3rd, but the players and parents had a good time in what was a first big tournament experience for many on this team.
Top Scorer – Jake Wedoski – Delta River Rats
Top Goalie – Caiden Bradshaw and Drake Daley – Delta River Rats
Skills –Fast Skater – Jack Wedoski – Delta River Rats
Goalie – Caden Bradshaw – Delta River Rats
Sniper – Hudson Fox – Puck Attack
Mite Division – 6 teams competed in the mite division that was a pretty balanced field all year. Just 6 weeks ago at the NARCh Regional the Silicon Valley Quakes defeated the Mission RV Mustangs Purple for the title, by a final of 3-2. The Mustangs Purple would grab the #1 seed in this tourney, winning their first 4 games. The Junior Thunder played the Quakes very tough in the prelims and came out on top 5-4, securing the #2 seed and the chance to play for the gold cup. With that loss the Quakes would end up facing the Delta River Rats for the silver title.
In the gold championship game William Diaz would put the Mustangs on the board first, but the Thunder would answer to tie it up. The Mustangs would also score the next two to head into half with a 2 goal lead, 3-1. The Thunder weren’t ever able to close the gap, as each team scored twice in the second half, and the Mustangs Purple would take the title and the cup by a final of 5-3. It’s also worth noting that the Mustangs had 5 different goal scorers.
The mite silver championship would be one of our best of the day. As is often the case, it involved a big comeback. The Quakes headed into half up 4-2. The River Rats would close the gap with 3 minutes left in the game, making it 4-3. With just :38 seconds left in the game and a pulled goaltender, #26 Gabel Longshore would tie it up for the River Rats and this baby would head to overtime. The River Rats would take a penalty in overtime and the Quakes had a chance to put this one away. Instead a Quakes Rush up the rink would get broken up and the puck would end up on the stick of the River Rats main horse, Gabel Longshore. He would head down the rink on a 1-2 and somehow get around one defenseman, half hop the other, and deke the poke checking attempt of the goaltender to capture the title for the River Rats. I’m as unbiased as they come, but it was an awesome way to end a great game.
Top Scorer – Wiliiam Diaz – Mustangs Purple
Top Goalie – Payton Seldon – Mustangs Purple
Skills – Fastest Skater – Jaden Guzman – Silicon Valley Quakes
Goalie – Payton Seldon – Mustangs Purple
Sniper – Jacob Dunlavy – Jr. Red Tails
Squirt Division – 7 teams rounded out the squirt division and two teams went undefeated in the prelims to meet for the gold championship, the Bauer Riot and Delta River Rats. This game was crazy from the start, with both teams scoring within the first minute of the game. The Delta River Rats would jump out to an early 4-1 lead, but the Riot would score 3 straight to send the game into half tied at 4. A few lead changes would be exchanged and the game would once again be tied at 6 a piece with a few minutes to go. Big Christian Sy scored that 6th goal to tie it and you could sense that Bauer had gained momentum in the game. With continued pressure Ashley McNaughton would slam in what looked like her own rebound with a lot of traffic in front of the net and this would prove to be the game winner. Final score, 7-6.
The squirt silver championship was a great game that ended in heartbreak for one team and an incredible victory for the other. The Extreme Hawks were up 3-1 early in the second half. The Rampage cut the deficit in half by scoring with about 10 minutes to go. It would stay this way the rest of the game, that is, until the very, very end. The Rampage pulled their goalie pretty early and the Hawks had multiple chances to seal the victory with the empty net, but couldn’t. On a few occasions it was a player sacrificing his body to block a shot and keep it out of the empty net. On the very last rush of the game with 14 seconds left, the Rampage finally penetrated the defense and snuck one past the goalie to tie the game. You could see the disbelief in the faces of the Hawks bench. My hat goes off to the coaches who did a good job of getting the Hawks to shake it off and mentally prepare for the overtime. In overtime it was a wide shot off the boards that created the rebound scoring opportunity that would seal victory for the Rampage. As the saying goes, it’s not over till it’s over.
Top Scorer – Anthony Carter – Delta River Rats
Top Goalie – Hayden Kraft – Delta River Rats
Skills – Fastest Skater – Jenna Weeks – Delta River Rats
Goalie – Nathan Fein – Tsunami
Sniper – Christian Sy – Bauer Riot
Peewee Division – The Nor Cal Elite have been the team to beat all season, and they would grab the #1 seed going undefeated through their first 4 games in this 8-team division. Three teams have played close games all season, the Junior Thunder, Delta River Rats, and Bauer Riot. The River Rats peaked at the right time and defeated both the Riot and the Thunder in the prelims to grab the #2 seed and a matchup with the Elite for the gold championship. This was a great game with multiple lead changes and back and forth action at both ends. The real thrills would not come until overtime. The Elite mounted a massive pressured attack and somehow, someway, Graeme Chrisholm kept it out of his net. A nice pass across led to a great chance by the Elite, but Graeme kicked his leg out at the last second to make the save. Another Elite player backhanded the rebound that would hit Graeme in the helmet, while he was chest down on the ground, and the puck stayed out. Then when the River Rats got their best opportunity, #98 Austin Blair would finish it. He had all 4 goals for the Rats, as they went on to win the first Nor Cal Cup by a final of 4-3 in overtime.
Peewee Silver would match up the Mission Rampage, who got past the Jr Red Tails in the playoff, with the Jr Thunder. This would be our lowest scoring championship of the day and if we were to name a star of the game it would have been Josh Freedman, the goaltender for the Thunder. Shots were pretty even at 21 vs 17, but Josh turned away every one of the 17 shots he faced to secure a shut out. The Thunder would get on the board twice in the first half with goals by Riley George and Evan Rusch, and that would be all that they need, as they won 2-0.
Top Scorer – Riley George – Jr Thunder
Top Goalie – Noah Schwarzback – Nor Cal Elite
Skills – Fastest Skater – Gabe Wackerman – Delta River Rats
Goalie – Josh Freedman – Jr Thunder
Sniper – Khoa Nguyen – Bauer Riot
Bantam Division – Going into the championships the Nor Cal Elite has dominated the season, winning some close games at times, but almost always winning. They would continue their domination, as their closest game in the prelims would be with the NorCal Extreme, who always play them tough. Elite won 4-2 and this would prove to be their closest contest of the tourney for them. They would match up with the Elite White for the championship, who grabbed the #2 seed. Brown is just bigger, faster, and stronger than most of the competition they faced, and as expected, they went on to win the title and hoist the cup.
Outside of Elite Brown, the bantam division was very competitive. The Jr Thunder would defeat the Delta River Rats 4-3 in the playoff game to face the NorCal Extreme for the championship. The Extreme jumped out to a 2-0 lead and that’s how we went into half. The Thunder woke up the second half though, and we would see 9 goals scored between the two teams in the last 17 minutes of hockey. The Thunder tied the game late and you could sense overtime coming. #21 Paul Hermle for the Extreme had a different agenda though, and with just 20 seconds remaining in the game he would snipe the game winner. The Extreme won the title 6-5.
High Scorer – Matt Fisher – Nor Cal Elite Brown
Top Goalie – Peter Simonsen & Mariah Blackmore – Nor Cal Elite White
Skills – Fastest Skater – Cory Kiviharju – Nor Cal Elite Brown
Goalie – Nick Swanson – Mission RV Mustangs
Sniper – Eric Bautista – Mission RV Mustangs
Midget Division – 5 teams competed in the midget division and the Alpha Dogs looked strong through the round robin, winning all of their games and grabbing the #1 seed. The Bauer Riot would defeat the Mission Rampage in the playoff game to advance to the championship against the Alpha Dogs. It was a great game in the first matchup that the Alpha Dogs pulled out 3-1. Given the age, it’s no surprise that this was our most penalized championship of the day. With 13 penalties between the two teams, much of the game would be played with a player or two in the box. Shots were basically even, but in this rematch the Riot would revenge their earlier loss, and Sam Poyer had 2 of the 3 Riot goals, as they went on to win 3-0. Riot goaltender Michael Velasquez played great in the championship, shutting out the Alpha Dogs, which is not easy to do.
High Scorer – Christopher Stannard – Bauer Riot
Top Goalie – Aron Qualas – Alpha Dogs
Skills – Fastest Skater – Zach Clawson – Alpha Dogs
Goalie – Kyle Brinkman – Mission Rampage
Sniper – Andy Quach – Mission RV Mustangs
We would like to thank all of the players, parents, coaches, and rink owners that helped to make the first season of the Nor Cal Cup a very successful one. We are already looking forward to next season!