November 28, 2016—St. Catharines, ON—This past weekend, the biggest ball hockey tournament in Ontario took place at the ballhockey.com Athletic Centre in St. Catharines, ON. Fourteen of the top teams in North America competed for a chance to win $14,000 in cash and to be crown Bauer’s Clash of the Titans Champions.
Though the round robin provided some intrigue and surprises, such as the Punishers not winning any of their games, Championship Sunday was what Clash was all about. The day began with the Barrie Flyers and heavily favoured, Pittsburgh Gods squaring off in the first quarter-final match up. The Gods quickly went up 2-0 in the first period and things were looking bleak for the Flyers but an early second period goal gave the Flyers the spark it needed.
The first quarter-final match was a chippy one and it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day. Plenty of scrums broke out in between whistles as the refs tried their best to keep control over the game. Tyler Yerex of the Flyers was magic the entire tournament but his performance and the push-back provided by the rest of the team wasn’t enough to beat Pittsburgh as they lost 3-2.
The 2nd quarter-final match of the day saw the Ottawa Godfathers square off against the vaunted Midnight Express of Brampton. The Godfathers quickly got out in front 1-0 on a beautiful Alex Brisson goal. The rest of the game, however, had a weird pace to it as multiple icings led to multiple play-stoppages. The rough stuff continued as each team had one player take sticks to the face, causing some blood flow. The game remained tied until late in the third when the Express scored, beating the Godfathers 2-1 and advancing to the semi-finals.
Quarter-final #3 saw the Toronto Orangemen taking on the boys from New England, the Leominster Americans. Early in the first, the Orangemen though they had scored but the goal was waived off for goalie interference. The game was tightly contested but the underdog Orangemen came away with a 3-2 victory, securing their spot in the semis.
The last quarter-final match of the day was one everyone had been waiting for; the Niagara Rebels versus the Niagara War Pigs. Both teams came out flying and both teams scored late in the first period. In the second, the Rebels got in to some penalty trouble, giving the War Pigs a 5-on-3 power play. The War Pigs would eventually score, going up 3-2. Near the end of the second frame, a monster defensive play from the Rebels Marcus Lagerstrom resulted in a goal, tying the game up at 3. The rough stuff continued but eventually, the Rebels scored and won the game 4-3.
Both semi-final match ups didn’t have the same lustre as the quarter-finals but still provided some highlights. The first semi between the Pittsburgh Gods and the Midnight Express went to overtime, with the Express eventually winning and earning their spot in the final. The second semi saw the Toronto Orangemen take on heavily-favoured Niagara Rebels. This game also went to overtime and the surprise of the tournament, the Toronto Orangemen beat the Rebels, securing their spot in the final.
The Clash of the Titans Final saw the Orangemen strike first, which seemed to stun the Midnight Express. However, in the second period, the Express showed why they’re ranked as high as they are. The Express’ JC Gill scored 3 goals and the Midnight Express never looked back, beating the Orangemen 7-2 and winning Bauer’s Clash of the Titans.