Tournament Central

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Tournament Tales

CT Hockey players made great things happen as they finished their 2018-19 seasons!

Enfield Eagles 10U B Team Wins Smythe Bracket

The Enfield Eagles B team was in the Smythe bracket of the U10 State Tournament. They knew it was going to be a challenge to make it to the end. The coaches have prepared them for this, hard/fast paced practices, challenging games, dryland and warmups, it was all for these couple of days. They were ready.

The Enfield Eagles were in a 5 team bracket and knew they had to be one of the top two for a shot at the championship trophy. Their first game was Thursday night, in Northford, against a very determined Wallingford B team. Both teams seemed determined to claim the first win of the tournament but the Eagles would prevail. After a day off to rest up for what was going to be a tough journey ahead the Eagles would arrive Saturday morning in Northford for their second game. This time against Darien B1. Both teams came out ready to play and gave it their all. In the end, the Eagles would claim the victory. Heading in to Saturday afternoons game the Eagles knew they were going to have to dig deep to play the Wonderland Wizards B team and come out with the win. This game was back and forth the entire game, remaining scoreless until 4:18 left of the game when Wonderland would score the only goal of the game. It was a tough loss for the Eagles but they were off to have some team bonding time and recover for the early morning game against Central B. A good nights rest brought the skaters back to the rink ready to go. Everyone knew with a win or tie they would have earned their shot in the championship game. Central put up a good challenge but could not hold the Eagles back. We were on to the championship game.

The stage was set for Wonderland Wizards and Enfield Eagles to showdown for the Smyte Bracket Championship. The puck dropped at 3:20pm and the game was under way. About 5 minutes into the first period the Eagles strike first and the crowd goes wild. The remainder of the period would remain scoreless. In the second period the Wizards would score to tie the game. WE head in to the third tied 1-1. The stands were cheering the teams on, the coaches were encouraging their teams and the skaters digging deep, giving it all they got. With 7 minutes remaining in the third Wonderland would strike again to go up 2-1. The Eagles were not giving up though. Down 2-1 with under a minute to go, the Eagles pull their goalie, they swarm the net with under 10 seconds to go and net one to tie it up with 7.3 seconds remaining in the 3rd. The fans erupt, we cannot believe our eyes. We are heading to overtime. The clock is set for 6:00 minutes, the goalies switch ends and the teams skate back and forth, the period ends in a tie. Overtime #2, clock is set for 6:00 minutes, the goalies switch again, skaters go back and forth, shot after shot, the goalies are brick walls. Two scoreless 6:00 min OT periods led to a shoot out. Groups of 5 would take their turn firing shots at the goalies, round after round we remain tied. An epic 19 round shootout before the Eagles WIN!! The Eagles won their championship game!!!

A lesson for all, skaters, coaches, parents and siblings alike, never give up. Keep digging deep to achieve your goals!!

Submitted by Julie Malecki

Tier IV 12U Hamden West Haven Valentine's Day Battle

For 70+ years the Hamden and West Haven Hockey teams have been battling each other. They are the first "rivalry" in the State of Connecticut and combined between them, hold the most High School Division 1 Championships. Each year the all the teams from each Organization play each other for their first games in September which is called "The Original Winter Classic." Even the 2 coaches played for their teams against each other in the 1980s. It was an uneasy feeling when the pairings came out and the 2 PeeWee A teams would meet during Round Robin in the State Tournament in Northford. The huge crowd that watched knew they were in for a great game and skipped the traditional Valentine's date night.

The 2 close wins that Hamden enjoyed during the regular season meant nothing. Both teams knew that only heart and desire would be the key to a win. West Haven came out flying and did not let up and in the middle of the second period found themselves with a 4-0 lead against the Green Dragons. Determination kicked in and Hamden battled back scoring 2 goals by the end of the second period and adding a 3rd goal at the beginning of the third. With time ticking down to under 4 minutes, an aggressive forecheck caused West Haven to lose the puck in their zone and Hamden tied the game, 4-4

But, with 2:13 left in the game, a penalty was called Hamden found themselves shorthanded against their rival for just about the rest of the game. As the clock ticked down towards zero, West Haven's power play ended and Hamden's Connor Sullivan streaked down the ice and poked in a rebound with .06 seconds left on the clock! Hamden wins 5-4 !

The story doesn't end there. After both teams are winners in the quarter-finals, fate determined that West Haven gets a rematch in the semi-finals. Hamden vs. West Haven, the winner plays for the Championship. Hamden did not make the mistake of coming out slow and won 6-3, and then went on to win the Tier IV PeeWee State Championship that evening.

Both Hamden and West Haven knew that whoever came out alive from these battles, was the State Champion. Both towns have been doing it for so long

Submitted by George Sweeney

West Hartford 12U B Have Weekend to Remember!

The Peewee Bs had a weekend to remember taking home the gold at Lake Placid!

The Wolves came out of the gate on fire defeating the North Country Cougars 7-0 with seven different goal scorers. Teegan Levesque netted an opportunistic first goal for the Wolves, with other highlights including Brady Narus putting the biscuit in the basket and Porter Andrews setting up Harrison Dodds for the final tally. Brayden Ross posted a shutout and was spectacular between the pipes throughout the tournament only surrendering 7 goals in 5 games.

The second game had a Miracle setting as the Wolves played in the 1980 rink on the 39th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. The Wolves coming out of the Team USA locker room after hearing a modified Herb Brooks speech faced their eventual rival Oswego Buccaneers (who happened to be housed in the Russian locker room). Dodds and Tyler Dworman set each other up for 2 sweet goals. The Wolves, being cheered on by many Squirt C families, held off a late surge by Oswego for a 2-2 tie.

The Wolves needed at least a tie against the Skyland Kings in the third game to advance to the semifinals. Despite the stout defense of Maia Morander and Audrey Hall, the Wolves were trailing 2-1 late when Tommy Goscicki found the back of the net with just under 3 minutes left to play to punch a ticket to the semis!

The Wolves resiliency was on display in the semis against the 3-0 Berkshire Bruins giving up an early goal, but Alex Nollman scored 2 and Nolan Elliot the other as the Wolves won 3-1 and advanced to the championship game. Charlie Muro was a force on the forecheck not allowing the Bruins out of their zone throughout the game.

The stage was set for the final against the gritty Oswego club. The Wolves again trailed 1-0 before Oliver Levesque opened the Wolves scoring with a blast from the point that trickled past the goal line. Eshwar Chavali then lit the lamp and Goscicki had a beautiful one timer to put the Wolves up 3-1 in the 1st. Oswego got to within a goal a few minutes into the 2nd. The rest of the game was back and forth and the Wolves found themselves with a man in the box and the Oswego goalie pulled late in the third but held on to take the gold!

What a weekend for the players and parents, not only for the amazing performance at the rink in which all players contributed to the team's success, but for taking advantage of Lake Placid's bobsledding, dogsledding, skiing, speed skating and pond hockey for an experience they will never forget!

Submitted by Cristina Goscicki

East Haven Bantam Adams Division State Champs

This is an inspirational story for any reader about teamwork and determination. Magnificent 7 played the season with 7 -8 players with 16-6-5 record went on to the Adams Division State Tournament in Northford and came out 5-0 record and State Champions!!! Not the size of the team, it is the size of the heart in the team.

Submitted by Catherine Schroeter

Shoreline Sharks Shootout Victory

The Shoreline Sharks U10 Black beat the CT Junior Rangers in an exciting CGHL championship game that went right down to the wire. Tied 1-1 after regulation. Tied 1-1 after over-time. Shoreline Sharks player Bella Theall #21 broke the tie during the shoot-out and scored the only goal of the shoot-out. Sharks goalie Kate Epke preserved the win by shutting the door and making every save during the shoot-out.
Watch the Shootout

Submitted by Steve Theall

East Haven's Mighty BeeZ

It is not about the size of the team in the game. It's the size of the HEART in the team.

East Haven U14 (aka Mighty BeeZ) Team of "9" closed the season with an impressive 16 WINS 6 losses 4 ties! They moved on to States. Way to go Easties! You are an inspiration to your younger league mates. (pic is missing 3 players)

Submitted by Catherine Schroeter

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