This wrap-up is something of a bittersweet one. It’s bittersweet because in some ways, it marks the end of what was a truly terrific year for ball hockey. There’s no doubt about it, the weather is starting to get colder, and while there will still be the odd tournament to get excited about, as we move through the winter months, the roar of ball hockey fervor will start to quiet off for a little while. Luckily, the year was able to go out with a bang, as the All Ontario Cup (AOC) Weekend of Champs presented by Bauer was an absolutely pulse-pounding weekend filled with intense games and some big surprises. Running the live-stream on the last day of the tournament meant that we got to catch some of the most exciting games, like the intermediate final between the London Gulls and the 4th Ave, the Rec division final between the Hamilton Hustle and the Garden City Empire, and the Barn division final between the Lincoln Blades and the Outlaws. While this weekend was a big event for anyone who could make it down, we know that not everyone can make the trek. That’s where we come in. We’ve got you covered with a Weekend of Champs Wrap-Up!
The Barn division offered up some pretty heavy competition this year, but it eventually came down to the Lincoln Blades and the Outlaws. We have to be honest, when the game started, we didn’t really know what to expect. Based on the performance that we’d seen leading up to the final match, either team could have taken it. Not to mention it was the final game of the tournament, so naturally the players were feeling a bit fatigued. There was a good bit of back and forth in the first period, and the game went into the second with a score of 0-0. Once in the second period however, the Outlaws found their footing, and Dylan Reeve managed to score a goal with an assist from Dalton Procyshyn. A few short minutes after, Eric Cerino scored a second goal, and the Blades just couldn’t recover. About halfway through the third period, Spencer Stothart scored the Outlaw’s third and final goal with an assist by Kyle Parsons, cementing their 3-0 victory, and naming them champions of the Weekend of Champs Barn division.
The Rec division final was a little less one sided, but once again, when the Hamilton Hustle dug in, they ran away with the game. Initially it seemed like the Empire might take it. Connor Tomka scored the first goal of the game for them in the first period, and they managed to hang onto the lead through most of the second period. Near the end of the second period however, the Hustle really kicked it into gear. Tyson Myke of the Hustle scored with just a minute fifty eight left in the second after being set up nicely by Kodi Hollingsworth, bringing the game to 1-1 heading into the third period. The Hustle played aggressively in the third period though, and Cosborn Warner, Myke, and Jack Dungey all managed to score, winning them the game by a score of 4-1.
The final, well…final of the tournament we’ll talk about was in the intermediate division, between the London Gulls and the 4th Ave. This was a relatively high-scoring game, and an exciting one to watch. As we’ve noted in some of our coverage in the past, the London Gulls have been an exciting team to watch this year, and based on 4th Ave.’s performance up to this point in the tournament, we knew that this was going to be a harrowing game. When it started, it seemed like 4th Ave. was absolutely going to take it. Daniel Legault, Mike Martin, and Patrick McDonald each scored in the first period with assists from Jake Touron and Joel Thompson. Heading into the second period with a 3-0 lead, 4th Ave. must have been pretty confident, but the Gulls were determined. Matt Delisle scored the Gulls’ first goal with a beauty assist from Gordie Clemas. After this, it was like a snowball effect. The Gulls kept scoring, and 4th Ave. were unable to turn it back around. Brandon Thompson scored the Gulls’ second goal bringing the score to 3-2 for 4th Ave. heading into the third. Suddenly the game got very tense, as the deficit was now just a one goal difference. There was a bit of a back and forth to start the third period, but after a few minutes, Drew Clemas scored the goal that would tie up the game with an assist from Kyle Dicicco. Almost immediately afterwards, Ryan Ellis scored with an assist by Cam Bond to put the Gulls into the lead, and with just a minute left in the game, Dan Green scored the final goal for the Gulls with assists by Connor Lyttle and Brandon Thompson to give them a 5-3 victory.
We were right to expect the 4th Ave./Gulls game to be an exciting match up. To watch a team score three goals right out of the gate is impressive enough, but to then watch the opposing team come back from a three point deficit and win the championship is almost unheard of! The Weekend of Champs tournament was full of exciting moments though, and if you’d like to catch up on some of them for yourself, our full live-stream coverage of the event can be found right here.