With the Ballhockey.com Clash of the Titans tournament completed, it’s time to take a look at how some of the top North American ball hockey teams fared in the last big competition of the year. With 14 teams in attendance from Ontario and across the border, this was an intense weekend, and ‘clash’ is maybe the best way to describe what was on display in St. Catharines, Ontario this year. There were a lot of heavy hitters, so let’s jump right in!
The preliminary round held no shortage of surprises. Last year’s champions, Midnight Express, took a loss against the Ottawa Godfathers, who finished first in the round robin with a record of 3-0-0. This loss ranked Midnight Express 5th, but we weren’t ready to count them out, considering they were able to win their other two games against the Toronto Titans and Team Massachusetts handily.
Heading out of the round robin in second and third respectively were the Niagara Rebels and War Pigs, each with a 2-0-1 record. We’d suspected in our event preview that playing so close to home may offer them an edge, and it looked like they were using it to their full advantage. In fact, both of their ties were against one another. Determined not to leave America in the dust, the Pittsburgh Gods were trailing just behind the War Pigs with a 2-1-0 record. There’s no denying it, the top 5 teams were close, and heading into the elimination round, it was still anyone’s tournament.
It quickly became clear that Midnight Express were done messing around. They took out the Niagara Saints in their elimination game with an impressive 7-1 score. The War Pigs were also on a ‘war path’ and eliminated the Stoney Creek Savages in their Quarter-Final game with a score of 4-1. Team Massachusetts managed to pull off the unexpected and take out the Niagara Rebels in the Quarter-Finals, meaning they’d move on to face off against the War Pigs in the Semi-Finals. The final game of the Quarter Finals saw Midnight Express just beat out the Pittsburgh Gods with a 2-1 score. It wasn’t much, but it was all they needed for a rematch against the Ottawa Godfathers in the Semi-Finals.
The first game of the Semi-Finals saw the War Pigs taking on Team Massachusetts. Team Massachusetts must have been flying pretty high after their win against the second place Niagara Rebels, but the War Pigs were quick to action, and were all over them. The game ended with a score of 6-0 for the War Pigs. Then the real excitement began.
The second Semi-Final game was a rematch between the Ottawa Godfathers and Midnight Express. You could tell that Midnight Express were waiting for this game. It was almost a complete turnaround compared to their first bout, and Midnight Express managed to take the win with a final score of 5-1. This meant that Midnight Express would be going up against the Niagara War Pigs in the Championship game.
This game was a real barn-burner. It was unclear the whole time who was going to pull ahead. Every time one team would score, the other would answer. The War Pigs and Midnight Express are both very talented teams and watching them go up against one another really earned the tournament its namesake. Things were neck and neck until the last minute of the game where Midnight Express managed to pull ahead, then they held onto their single goal lead until the buzzer sounded.
Midnight Express was able to come back from 5th place to defend their title as Clash of the Titans Champions. Congratulations to them, as well as the Niagara War Pigs and Ottawa Godfathers for some excellent play over the weekend. There was some stiff competition at this year’s tournament, but what else can you expect when teams of this caliber hit the floor.