The Red Tails minor team was expected to be strong this season. Game one started out slow as both teams were feeling each other out. Ripon found their offense late int he 1st period and didn’t look back. Capitalizing on turnovers were the two youngest Red Tails. Leonard Burnett cashed in on a deflection in the slot. The games leading scorer was Kyle Aldrich with four goals. The Pirates were unable to get anything going and dropped game one by a lopsided 8-0 score. Casey Snyder had 14 saves in the shutout win.
Game two saw a goaltender change for both teams. With three goals in the first 4 minutes the Red Tails were forced to replace thier goaltender in hopes to spark a change. San Jose seemed much more confident and was able to hold off the Ripon comeback attempt. The Pirates were getting contributions from all of their players and were able to shut down the high flying Ripon offense. With a final score of 6-2 the series ended in a split.
The two time defending division champion San Jose Pirates came into Ripon looking to slow down the Savage in a exciting series. The Savage came out pressing early and jumped out with an power play goal 46 seconds into the game. The first period was back and forth and ended in a 3-3 tie. Period two saw the Savage control the play early on an get out to a 6-3 lead. San Jose fought their way back into the game with 3 powerplay goals in the 2nd period and tied the game with 2:20 left. The momentum was with the Pirates as they completed the comeback with a goal by Jon King with :51 remaining. Leading the Pirates was Daniel Inouye with 6 assists and Jon Drake with 5 points. Matt Braun and Alex Flores lead all Savage scorers with 3 points each. Ripon out shot San Jose 45 to 33 but lost to game 8-7.
Game two started out with another quick power play goal by San Jose just two minutes in. After some defensive game plan changes Ripon was able to bring the offense. The high tempo pace proved to be to much for the short San Jose bench to handle. The Savage players pumped in seven first period goals. As the final period started San Jose was out of gas. Will Hall added a shorthanded goal with a spectacular single handed effort. Leading way for Ripon was captain Jason Weaver with three goals and one assist. Shot totals were again uneven as Ripon out shot San Jose 50 to 30.
This series featured two potent power plays for a combined 6 goals with the man advantage. It may be early in the season but this match up will continue to grow over the next couple weeks. Up next for both teams will be the AIHL Jamboree, held in Ripon on 1/22-1/23. Get to the arena early to get a glass seat! See you at the rink.