The 2019 and much improved Syracuse CAN-AM featured highly talented and exciting games in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions, featuring players from both the United States and Canada. Playing in an arena that allowed for game viewership only steps away allowed for a connected feeling during the games, such as hearing the cheering from the other side, enhanced the experience. On top of that, it had multiple locker rooms per side and featured a bar in between the rinks. Just know, if you visit this arena, pack your jacket, hats, gloves, heating elements, a campfire and possible blow torch to stay warm.
The tournament format for Men’s A/B and Women’s brackets were designed with three pools of three, featuring two pool games for each team. From there, each team that won their pool were seeded 1-3 based on points and goal differentials. The following 4-7 seeds were the next best teams in order in number of points and goal differential. Seeds 8 and 9 faced off in a loser out scenario. If a team had an overtime loss in pool play, they were awarded a point. After pool play games, seed 1 played the winner of 8 and 9, 2v7, 3v6, and 4v5.
Men’s C/D layout had eight teams where the top two played in the “C” single elimination playoffs and the bottom two in the single elimination “D” playoffs.
The Men’s A/B brackets did not disappoint those who had the opportunity to watch in person or online through the Broomball Central YouTube page (you can still catch the games achieved). Many games were close and highly skilled showcasing much of what true broomballer hold dear. The tournament also showed the uglier side of broomball with fisticuffs thrown down (see below) in the Men’s A semi-final between Valley Gamblers and Spitfire, both Canadian teams.
The upper Men’s brackets featured four American teams, ranked #4, #6, #8, #13 in the latest BBC Ambassador Poll and five Canadian teams. The twenty games featured 89 goals with the most goals for between Helicopters and Legion BC (15), least goals against to Furious and Spitfire (3), and best goal differential to Spitfire and Helicopters (+11).
The tournament ended with a 2OT 1-0 victory for Valley Gamblers over #6 Furious of Minnesota while #4 Legion BC, who lost to Valley Gamblers 4-3 in the quarterfinals, slipped past #8 Syracuse Outlaws 1-0 in another 2OT game to claim the “B” side title.
The Helicopters looked to be the best overall team in the tournament before losing to the defensive juggernaut Furious who was the most impressive throughout. As we’ve seen in tournaments past, Valley Gamblers, known better to others an members of the Ottawa Nationals, turned it on when it was needed most and carried that throughout the playoff rounds. Legion BC showed another impressive performance only losing to Helicopters in overtime during pool play and Valley Gamblers by a 4-3 margin in the quarters. The NJ Saints were able to experience some of the highest level games the young team has faced which will be great for their continual advancement up the ranks. A final mention is to the Syracuse Outlaws who have found their defensive form allowing no more than two goals in a single game and either winning or staying in every match they played.
Featuring six American teams and two Canadian teams, the lower Men’s bracket also proved competitive when Syracuse United and Ontario Wolfpack of Group G moved on to the “C” bracket to play against the Kamelons and Top Shelf of Group H. Iceplex Broomball, Woody’s (Group G) along with Cuse and Boston Broomins (Group H). Syracuse United continued their shutout streak against Top Shelf in the semi-final “C” match. The Kameleons used running time to move past the Ontario Wolfpack 4-0 on the other side of the playoff bracket. Before the “C” final, Syracuse United hadn’t given up a goal all tournament and it only took one for the Kameleons to take the “C” title.
The “D” final featured Woody’s, who took their first win in the semi-final over Boston Broomins 2-1 and Cuse, who beat Iceplex 2-0 in the semis. The final finished 3-1 to Cuse in a Syracuse only final.
The Nighthawks entered the playoff rounds with the #1 seed after entering with a 2-0 record and 9-0 goals for verse against. Minnesota Women’s Broomball #1 took the #2 seed after winning both their games. Eastern Stealth finalized the top three seeds.
The semi-final featured an upset with the Dynamites beating out the top seed Nighthawks 3-1 and MNWB1 beat out Eastern Stealth 2-1 and shut down arguably the most dynamic player of the tournament. One major factor in this game was the injury to MNWB1’s only goalie, Sam Gordon, who it was later determined tore her hamstring.
The final between the Dynamites and MNWB1 was mostly controlled by MNWB1 with flashes of excitement. MNWB1 scored an earlier powerplay goal by Sheila Cheng which held until the final minutes of regulation when the Dynamites managed the squeak a goal through the legs of substitute goalie Stephanie Popovich. It then took until double overtime for MNWB1 to beat the Dynamites for the Women’s “A” final. The final goal came from a blocked shot from the point and a shot into the open net from just past the redline.
The Women’s “B”, which we were unfortunately unable to film due to flight schedules, resulted in a 3-1 Mavericks victory over Vortex.
The Syracuse CAN-AM of 2019 was much improved over the past years. Changing the rules to a complete USA Broomball rulebook and relocating to a new facility gave the tournament a great facelift. The talent was improved as it has year by year and the organization of the tournament continues to be a strength. This year’s 9-team bracketing made for interesting scenarios come the playoff round, but how else would one structure a 9-team tournament? It allowed for interesting scenario options and the semi-finals were always games to watch.
One troubling aspect of the tournament was the great elephant in the room, the fight. Per USA Broomball rules, fighting is not allowed and is subject to harsh sanctions from USA Broomball. The typical ruling on a fight of that magnitude would be a one-year suspension. As a broomball community leader, Broomball Central takes a conservative approach to such interactions; we do not condone fighting and do not like the light it sheds on the sport. Therefore, although we recognize and will continue to fulfill our commitment to the sport and reporting on it, we will standby and fully support the actions taken as a result by USA Broomball.
Tournament Scores and Standings
A final breakdown of the tournament scores and standings will be abvailable soon. Until then, click this link to be redirected to the Syracuse broomball tournament site.