Big Stars Win Super Cup, Rebellion's Historic Comeback Nets Bronze
Posted By: uuhadood
Sunday, March 31, 2013
TORONTO - For the second consecutive year, the Big Stars have won the Super Cup Showdown, this time by defeating the Toros 6-3 in the Championship Final. (The seemingly lopsided result belies the closeness of the two-hour contest as the Big Stars' 6th goal was an empty-net tally.) Meanwhile, the Rebellion mounted an historic comeback, scoring an unprecedented seven unanswered 3rd period goals to win the two-hour Bronze Medal game 11-7.
Cleanup on Isle Four...
The fourth-annual Super Cup Showdown got off to a tardy start on Good Friday morning after Big Stars forward Steve Harkness shattered a pane of McCormick Arena glass - the likes of which had not been witnessed by any players in attendance, many of whom have played regularly at McCormick for well over a decade. Just over an hour later, though, with a brand new pane of plexiglass securely in place, the puck was dropped between Big Stars centre Mike Harkness and Subtle Tendencies counterpart Jimmy Murphy marking the official start of the 2013 Super Cup Showdown.
Big Stars centre and GM Mike Thompson potted the first goal of the tourney, solving Subtle goaltender Burke Lawrence at the 9:26 mark of the 1st period (with Mike Takacs and Geoff McPeek assisting). The second frame would see the Boys in Black tally two more times as Takacs (with Mike Thompson and Adam Thrasher) and Thrasher (from Takas and Graham Duncan) scored the first of what would be many goals over the weekend for the two stand-out players. Thrasher would pot two more before the midway point of the 3rd period (with Brad Sveistrup and McPeek claiming helpers) before third-line centreman Chuck Molgat combined with linemate Fernando Freitas for some further insurance for the Big Stars. Subtle's Cam Collyer (helped out by Tim Posgate and Nick Purdon) spoiled Big Stars goalie John Sutton's shutout bid with 3:16 remaining on the clock, before Murphy tallied again (unassisted) for the Reds just over a minute later. The final score of the game was 6-2 in favour of the Big Stars.
Game Two Squeaker
Next up was the Rebellion and the Toros, taking to the ice at the time previously designated for the Super Skill Showdown. (Due to the earlier glass-shattering delay, it was decided the tournament's skills competition would be incorporated into the Saturday programme instead.) Rebellion defenceman and GM Kevin Magura combined with Ted Bisaillion and Sean Cullen to open the scoring just two-and-a-half minutes into the game, but the Toros Steve Boyd answered back a minute later (assisted by Mike Frolick) to knot things at 1 apiece. Steve Levine then put the Toros ahead with an unassisted tally a few minutes later. The 2nd period saw Simon Evers convert a feed from Dominic Chartier to tie things us again, but the draw was shortlived as Toro's speedster Todd Moffat got the puck past goaltender Luis Freitas on the next play (Frolick and Stephen Cribbin earned helpers on that one).
The 3rd period saw no additional scoring as the Toros skated to a hard-fought 3-2 victory, delivering goalie Sheldon Shurland his first win and matching the Big Stars in the early standings with two points each.
Levine, Cribbin, Fell Prove Game Three Heroes
With just a 15-minute rest, the Toros were back on the ice again, this time to lock horns with a Subtle Tendencies squad still looking for its first win of the tourney. Forward and GM Kyle Welton would get the team moving in that direction on the first play of the game, lighting the lamp behind Shurland at the 11:47 mark of the opening frame (with Mike Wilk and Lorne Kredl assisting). Moffat put that fire out two-and-a-half minutes later, though, skating in a feed from Joseph Desjardins (with Jon Weier) to make it 1-1. Toros centreman Steve Levine would get his second of the tourney (assisted by Weier and Joe Cook) a minute-or-so later, but the ribbon would be re-bowed by Subtle's Nick Hehn before the horn sounded to end the 1st period (Welton and goaltender Lawrence picked up assists on that one).
Moffat (assisted by Frolick and Desjardins) would score the only goal of the 2nd frame, putting the Toros in front 3-2, but Subtle's Jonny Harris would answer back in the 3rd, potting the first-ever goal of his adult-recreational hockey career by sending home a cross-crease feed from Welton (Hehn also assisted on the play). But with 4:57 remaining in the game, Levine combined with Cribbin and Adam Fell to net the game-winning goal, keeping his side's tournament record perfect in the process.
Rebellion Under Riel Pressure
The final game of the day featured the Rebellion looking for its first win against the Big Stars, who were now under pressure to win in order to maintain a spot among the Super Cup Showdown standings.
Just two minutes into the game, the Stars' Thrasher was sprung by Molgat for the opening tally - Thrasher's fourth goal of the tournament. The Rebellion's big gun Dominic Chartier responded almost immediately, combining with brother Sebastian Chartier to solve goaltender Sutton at the 10:14 mark. Four more 1st period goals would transpire, with the Rebellion's Magura (unassisted) bulging twine, while Big Stars Mike Thompson and Takacs did the same - the latter on two occasions. (Rob Thompson and Graham Duncan claimed the only assists among those three goals.) At the end of the 1st the scoreboard read 4-2 in favour of the Big Stars.
The 2nd period saw a similar level of action with five goals registered in what was clearly not a goaltenders' game. Scoring for the Rebellion were Magura (again unassisted) and Dominic Chartier (again with Sebastian Chartier assisting). For the Big Stars it was Takacs, Thrasher and Rob Thompson filling the opposing net (with assists going to Mike Thompson, Sveistrup and Takacs).
The Rebellion's Lee Finch potted the only marker of the final frame (assisted by Bisaillion), as the Big Stars skated to a 7-5 victory and a 2-0-0 tournament record.
Results Prompt Format Tweak
Given the first-day results it was determined that, regardless of the outcomes of the two remaining round-robin games, the Big Stars and Toros were through to the Championship Final, while the best the Rebellion and Subtle Tendencies could hope for was to compete for Bronze. As it happened, those were the same match-ups as the remaining round-robin games, deeming those matches effectively meaningless warm-up contests. So with that in mind the decision was made to reformat the Saturday Super Cup Showdown schedule to feature a pair of two-hour games: the Bronze Medal contest, which would start at 11:00 AM and see the Rebellion and Subtle Tendencies go at it, and the Championship Final, which would go at 2:00 PM and see the Big Stars and Toros compete for Super Cup glory. Both games would feature three 20-minute stop-time periods with a break somewhere near the middle to clean the ice. The Super Skills Showdown would be staged as an intermission feature between the two games, beginning at 1:00 PM.
Remarkably, given how the scoring would play out over the final two periods, the opening frame of the Bronze Medal game yielded just three goals - one scored under a minute into the game by Subtle's Hunter Collins (assisted by Welton and Duncan Fremlin), and the others potted by Rebellion defenceman Joey Serlin (with Rideout and Bisaillion assisting) and Dominic Chartier (with the helper going to Sebastian Chartier). The floodgates would budge substantially for the 2nd period, though, particularly in favour of the Subtle Tendencies, who would take a seemingly insurmountable lead by outscoring their opponent six goals to two over the ensuing 20 minutes.
Eric Toth, Murphy and Cam Collyer (helped out by Hehn, Kredl and Matt Latreille) would tally to put the Red Tide up 3-2 before Bisaillion (from Rideout and Jason Pilling) answered back to knot things up at a trio apiece. Then Welton and Collyer struck again with back-to-back tallies (assisted by Kredl and Latreille, and Purdon and Tim Posgate, respectively), putting Subtle ahead 5-3. Magura then converted a power-play set-up from Jim Soulakis and Pilling to make it 5-4, but two more Subtle goals (scored by Welton and Harris, and assisted by Collins and Harris, and then Kredl) would see the 2nd period end 7-4 in Subtle's favour.
But despite the fact their sweaters were emblazoned with the visage of executed Metis leader Luis Riel, the Rebellion did not hang their heads going into the 3rd period. Rather, the team mounted a full on rout worthy of a rewrite of such woeful sagas as the Battles of Batoche, Fish Creek and Duck Lake. The orgy of 3rd period scoring went something like this: Dominic Chartier had three goals and an assist. Bisailion tallied twice. Sebastian Chartier lit the lamp once and picked up two helpers. Magura set up a pair of goals. Rideout potted one goal and assisted on another and Pilling and Evers were credited with assists as well. By the time the smoke cleared the Rebellion has scored seven unanswered goals, turning around a 7-4 deficit into a 7-11 win. Indeed, it was heard to be said that the final score's likeness to the name of a popular convenience store chain described the seeming state of Subtle's 3rd period defensive effort (or lack thereof): they were open all the time.
Skills Comp Showcases Hilarious Lack of Skills
With the intermission between the Bronze and Championship Final games, it was time for the Super Skills Showdown. The first (of three) events comprising the skills competition was the Puck Possession Slalom in which two players raced simultaneously in adjacent lanes the length of the rink, and back, stickhandling around seven obstacles in the process. The first player to cross the finish line advanced to the next heat. One of the first players to compete, Hunter Collins, easily won his first heat, then benefited from an exhausted Murphy after the latter ceded a tie to the former rather than participate in a do-over. Thrasher was among the early leaders, as well, and it was he and Collins who made it through to the final heat, with the leggy Thrasher winning the event by two full strides.
Next up was Target Shooting in which each participant was afforded five shots from the hash marks between the face-off circles to hit four 13-inch circular foam targets mounted in the corners of the net. Perhaps an easier undertaking than it seemed, the task proved illusive to the first six shooters who failed to register even a single hit. Then Frolick stepped up and, after missing on his first shot, defoamed three of the four targets with his next trio of snipes, even grazing the fourth target with his last. The masterful display was enough to win the event, despite a strong runner-up performance by the final contestant, Magura, who managed to hit two targets
As with Target Shooting, the final event of the Super Skills Showdown - Penalty Shots - threatened to rebrand the entire programme as a Lack of Skills Competition with shooter after shooter failing to solve any participating goalie, the list of which included Sutton, Shurland and Lawrence. The lack of scoring was such that the net minders took to bettering the odds of the oncoming skaters by starting out in prone positions: Shurland reclined on his side and stopped a shot with only his catcher, while Lawrence started out facing this net, only to turn around and save the shot at the last second. Finally, free agent Jim Soulakis managed to bulge the twine, ultimately winning the event as the only shooter to score. All three event winners were awarded cans of UUHAle (thanks to Junction Craft Brewing) while goaltender Shurland captured the coveted chocolate Stanley Cup (compliments of Luis Freitas) for his prone pad-stacking antics in the Penalty Shots contest.
Shooting Stars, Charging Toros Vie for Prize
In contrast to the shooting gallery that was the Bronze Medal game, the Super Cup Showdown Championship Final would see substantially fewer goals scored and about two-thirds as many shots registered on the nets behind goaltenders Shurland and Sutton. Toros sniper Steve Levine opened the scoring seven-and-a-half minutes into the 1st period, sliding a George Collins feed hard along the ice and beyond Sutton's reach. Big Stars forward Clint Whitworth responded five minutes later, though, knotting things up at 1-1 on a dandy of a play involving Takacs and Mike Thompson. Goals would be just as hard to come by in the 2nd period with each team registering just one more. For the Toros it was Levine again, this time on the power-play from Tim Vesely. Big Stars defenceman Thrasher got his side's only 2nd-frame tally, drifting an unassisted point shot (also on the power-play) in through a screen and past Shurland at the 14:35 mark. Shots-on-net after two periods of play were 24-15 in favour of the Big Stars.
With a newly-cleaned sheet of ice, and with the score tied 2-2, the Toros and Big Stars settled into 3rd period action. Just two minutes the familiar streaking visage of Thrasher headed netward and was succesfull in putting the Stars ahead (assisted by Takacs and Mike Thompson). Toros forward Cribbin pulled his side even near the midway point of the period, though, finishing off a net-front play with linemates Levine and Collins making the score 3-3. But, on the very next shift, Steve Harkness would combine with Rob Thompson and brother Mike Harkness to take the lead back for the Boys in Black. A top-corner one-timer from Ferando Freitas (fed at the side of the net by linemate Molgat) would register as an insurance tally at the 2:49 mark, and an unassisted empty-net goal off the stick of Takacs with just 28 seconds on the clock would guarantee the victory for the Big Stars, making the team the only squad in Super Cup Showdown history to win back-to-back Championships.
Incidentally, brother Mike and Rob Thompson were the only returning members from the 2012 edition of the Big Stars squad. And with the late cancellation of the Jokers Tim Progosh (whose Big Stars roster spot was filled last-minute by Molgat), Takacs was the only UUHA player to win two Championship titles within the same week.
Hats off to all who helped make the 2013 Super Cup Showdown a success and here's looking forward to an even bigger, better 2014 edition of the tournament.
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