Written by: Jacob Broten
The US had three teams competing in the 2019 Canada Cup last weekend in Arnprior, ON. The Canada Cup is played in the off years of the World Championships and meant to complement that event. The 4-team Mixed, 8-team Men’s and 8-team Women’s divisions fielded many top teams in Canada, including the current national champions and silver medalists from this year’s Canadian Nationals in each of those divisions. This made the tournament a highly competitive one with no real games off. The US had one women’s team entrant in the Reign and two men’s teams in the Outlaws and Eagles. Each team would need to finish top 2 in their pool if they wanted to advance into the semifinals. Here is a recap from the tourney in case you don’t have the time to watch all the videos 🙂
The Outlaws were composed of numerous Syracuse players and a mixture of players from MN teams. Offense was hard to come by in such a deep pool, but the Outlaws defense and goaltending from Legion’s JC kept them in games. They fell behind 1-0 to the 2019 Canadian silver medalist Patriotes from Quebec in their first pool play game before giving up two late empty netters and falling 3-0. Their 2nd pool play game was also a tough defeat to Minto Selects, who put in a rebound goal and then scored right after the Outlaws had finished killing off a 5 on 3 penalty before locking down the 2nd half and winning 2-0. The Outlaws wrapped up their tourney with a 0-0 stalemate against Lacombe, a strong Ontario squad which finished 3rd in provincials this year and 4th in Canadian Nationals. Way to battle to the end Outlaws!
The Reign women’s team had a rash of knee injuries to key players, but gave a strong accounting for themselves and the US at the Canada Cup. They started out pool play with a hard fought victory over the 2019 Canadian bronze medalists, OSS. The Reign raced to a 2-0 lead on first half goals by Lori Snider and Amy Stech and held on in the 2nd half for a 2-1 victory. In their 2nd pool play game against the Mavericks, they fell behind 1-0 in the first half. But, Amy scored on a terrific shot from just inside the blue line assisted by Shalanah Dawson, followed by a laser from Lori in the slot off a nice feed from Michelle Larson to take over the lead 2-1. Kate Ziemer-Davis capped off the scoring with a nice tap in on a goal mouth pass from Michelle Eberhard, also assisted by Julie Buzicky for a final score of 3-1.
The 2-0 Reign were then pitted against the also 2-0, and current Canadian National Champion, Vipers. The Vipers scored the only goal with about 8 minutes left in the game on a rebound after a great save by Reign goaltender Sam Gordon on a breakaway. The Vipers held on for the 1-0 win, giving the Reign the 2nd seed and a semifinal matchup with the Canadian silver medalists from this year, the Rebels. This game was really exciting to watch as the Rebels took a 1-0 lead toward the end of the first half. The Reign pressed and pressed and finally broke through to tie it with about a minute left in the game, when Julie forced a Rebel turnover to Shalanah who had it knocked off her stick, but right to Michelle Larson in the slot who struck it solid into the lower corner of the net. The 3v3 overtime was back and forth with chances and Sam coming up huge time after time. The game had to be decided by a shootout, where the Rebels scored one, while the Reign came up empty-handed on their attempts. It was a disappointing end for the women, but nothing to hang their heads about as they battled hard and in the end lost a close one to the eventual Canada Cup champion Rebels, who defeated the Vipers in the final. Well done Reign!
The Eagles started as a Kelly Lake effort (9 players), but filled out with key additions from other top teams like the Chiefs (3 players), LegionBC (3 players), C&L Excavating (2 players), and MetX (1 player). They began pool play with a young Ontario Phantoms squad. Jim Foreman, who had a huge tourney, opened the scoring with an absolute bomb from inside the blue line over the goalie’s shoulder with assists going to Jacob Broten and Brent Hanus (Hondo). The Eagles doubled the lead when Nick Konen toe tapped a loose ball in front off a Derek St. Clair shot right to Justus Foss who banged at it and lifted it over the goalie. The Eagles held the lead and added an empty netter by Pete Sikich with assists to Jonny Seitz and Hondo for a 3-0 win. Their 2nd pool game was against the Gladiators out of Quebec. After going down 0-1 on a Gladiateurs rebound goal, Broten picked off a flubbed breakout pass, fed Pete down low, who slid it across to Cory Winkler for the 1-1 equalizer. Then the penalty-fest began and the Eagles capitalized with three power play goals. Tony Sikich put his name on the score sheet with an upper shelf shot during a 4 on 3 with the assist from Pete. It was Tony again, in the 2nd half, who added to the lead on a 5 on 3, when Andy Stickney gathered a Broten rebound and fed Tony for a one-timer which he put low through a maze of bodies. Again on the power play, the final goal was scored by Foreman on a one-timer from the left side, assisted by Cam Courtright for a 4-1 Eagles victory.
The final pool play game matched up two 2-0 teams in the Eagles and current Canadian National Champions, the Ottawa Nationals. Tony got the Eagles off and running and again it was on the PP, when he ripped a backhand one-timer upper shelf on a quick return pass from Pete. Joe Ulerich doubled the lead after Matt Street made a terrific move along the boards to create a 2 on 1 sending Ulerich in, where he beat the Ottawa goaltender with a backhand shot on the short side. The second assist went to Foss. The Nationals would cut the lead in half, but Corey Swanson made BIG save after BIG save preserving the victory and a first place seed for the Eagles.
The Minto Selects were awaiting the Eagles in the semis after they finished their pool play undefeated at 2-0-1. Not to sound like a broken record, but it was a power play at the end of the half that broke the ice when Pete put his patented wrister from a tight angle over the goalie’s shoulder assisted by Broten and Tony. That lead held thanks to more solid team defense and great goaltending by Swanson. With about a minute remaining, Broten intercepted a breakout pass, walked around a defender, and scored in the empty net for the final margin of 2-0 Eagles. The final was a rematch with the Ottawa Nationals, but this time the Nationals took the early lead on a sharp angled wrister which snuck through Corey. Their foot was on the gas in the 1st half as they dominated play against the Eagles. At the beginning of the 2nd half, coincidental minors were handed out and the foursome of Pete, Seitz, Tony, and Jaunty took advantage, when Jaunty poked a loose ball in the offensive zone to Seitz who turned and sent an inside out wrister past the Ottawa net minder to tie it at 1-1. The rest of the 2nd half was back and forth with no goals. During the 15 minute 3 on 3 overtime, the Eagles play continued to pick up as they had several opportunities, but were held at bay. With the 15 minutes OT concluded, the game went to a shootout, each team choosing three shooters, with the most goals taking the chip. Jim Foreman, the man who started the scoring for the tourney would also end it and be the Eagles’ hero. It was his missile over the goalie’s left shoulder from the dot, coupled with three saves on Ottawa breakaway shooters by Swanson, that brought home the 2019 Canada Cup for the Eagles. The depth and unselfishness of this squad from top to bottom allowed them to run lines 1-4 even until the end of regulation in the chip. Great tournament Eagles!