Back on September 21st to the 23rd, the Barrie Ball Hockey Club was packed with teams and players who had come from all over to play in the Men’s A/B/C and Women’s A/B divisions of the 22nd World Outdoor Ball Hockey Championships presented by Bauer Hockey. The club located in Barrie, ON saw an influx of 57 teams who were looking to take home to coveted championship banners and jackets to their home clubs. With all of the local Barrie teams competing and the many teams coming in from all over Southern Ontario including Niagara, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, London and elsewhere, the teams from Timmins representing Northern Ontario as well as the US teams coming over the border from Pittsburgh and Philly repping the red, white and blue, we knew it was bound to be a battle for everyone participating.
Over the course of Friday and Saturday, teams worked their magic as they tried to qualify for their chance to complete in the elimination round on Sunday.
Men’s A Recap
In the Men’s A division, out of the 5 teams who came to compete, 1 would not get to play in the elimination games. The newcomers, the Stoney Creek Savages made the leap to A to take on the big boys and even though they fought hard all 4 games even squeaking out a tie against the strong Barrie Hitmen, they were unable to secure a win and eventually were the first team to go home. The defending champs and home team favourites, Barrie Flyers went a solid 4-0 in round robin play to show they meant business looking to repeat for the first time ever. Penn Hills Arsenal, whose only loss in round robin were to the Flyers, were looking strong as usual. In the semifinals, the Niagara War Pigs, drew the undefeated Flyers and Arsenal faced off against the Hitmen. The Flyers got off to a hot start and took a quick lead over the War Pigs and then held on to the shutout to win 3-0 and advance to the finals. Arsenal squared up with the Hitmen in one of the hardest fought games of the weekend that saw a large crowd watching the home team hoping to steal one from the US team. In a repeat of the round robin matchup, Arsenal took advantage of a few penalties and sent the Hitmen home, winning the game 4-2. The finals saw the Flyers pumped up for a chance to repeat and Arsenal looking to be the first US team to take home a WOBHC banner since 2012. Arsenal came out guns blazing and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead early on that forced Barrie to fight from behind for the entire game. Even with two 3rd period goals, the Flyers just couldn’t pull it off and Arsenal was handed the trophy after a 5-3 win.
Congratulations to 2018 Men’s A Champions, Penn Hills Arsenal featuring Francesco Andreoli, Austin Arampato, Mark Bergamasco, Cody Brenner, Ryan Crossey, Tony Gavulic, Denis Hickey, Ryan Mains, Shawn O'Connor, Ryan Pavlik, Joe Sheehan, Anquan Smith, Ryan Stulp, Billy Sullivan, Korey Sweeney, Vinnie Tumminello, Chris Yankoski and Rick Zimmick.
Men’s B/C Recap
With 38 teams entered in the Men’s B/C event, only the top 16 would make it to the B Pool, the next 8 would make it to the C pool and the remaining 14 would go home Saturday.
All teams play 3 round robin games to get seeded for Sunday based on points. With random draws and so many teams in the fray, this is one of the hardest divisions to compete in as teams who look like powerhouses, could end up with a loss and end up competing in the C pool and underdogs could steal points and end up in the B pool competing with the big dogs. That means both division are open for any team to take and we rarely see repeat winners. This year, was no different.
During round robin play, two local Barrie teams slaughtered their competition going a perfect 3-0 with the Wolfpack outscoring their opponents by 21 goals and the Titans following suit and outpacing their opposition by 19 goals while only allowing 1 goal against in 3 games. Another team that looked like a powerhouse were the Southwest Cowboys who were chalked full of WBHF Team Great Britain players and former NHLer, Theo Peckham who was out for a rip with the boys, also went 3-0 and finished second in scoring in round robin play.
Overall, there were 9 undefeated teams after the round robin and to show how important goals are with the 5 point system, not one team in the top 16 who moved onto the B pool, finished with a negative goal differential. The other 13 teams who made the elimination games in B pool were the 2017 Men’s B Finalists - London Gulls, 2016 Men’s C Champions - Barrie Maple Kings, 2015 Men’s C Champions - Toronto HOF, Niagara Bricksquad, Garden City Empire, Niagara Hitmen, Barrie B Flyers, Hamilton Lightning, Barrie B Hitmen, Blue Line Bandits, Niagara Nightmare, Big Bastone and Hamilton Outlaws.
On the C side, we saw some big teams get dropped to the lower bracket. The Niagara Falls Canucks, who had 3 Niagara War Pigs on their team and tonnes of WOBHC experience on their roster went an unexpected 1-1-1 in round robin with a tough draw and finished in the 3rd seed. The Fonthill Vicious Alpacas showed that they came to play being the only team to finish with two wins in the round robin and not make the B pool missing out by way of goal differential. They were the top seed for the C pool which also featured Hamilton Haze, Christie Panthers, 2 and 10 Custom Apparel, Barrie Brawlers, Hamilton Knights and Niagara Chiefs.
There were a few teams who had good showings in the round robin who went home early including Tsunami, who went 1-2 but beat eventual finalists, Big Bastone 3-2 and lost by one goal to both Niagara Bricksquad and Hamilton Lightning, two perennially strong teams who made the B pool. The Toronto Reign, who are a very strong indoor team, also didn’t make it to Sunday after losing all 3 round robin games.
In the Men’s B draw, the first elimination games had many close ones with 2 matches going to a shootout with the 15th seeded Hamilton Outlaws fighting hard but dropping their game to the number 2 seed, Barrie Titans and the 3rd seeded Southwest Cowboys falling 3-2 to the 14th seed, Big Bastone in the biggest upset of the round. The only other upset was the 9th place Barrie B Flyers beating out 8th seed Niagara Hitmen. Barrie Wolfpack continued their dominance winning 5-3 over the Toronto HOF and setting up a quarterfinal matchup against the lowest seeded Big Bastone who won in convincing fashion 8-1 to head to the semifinals. In the other semis, the London Gulls who sent home the Barrie B Hitmen earlier, started to gel and came away with a 2-0 victory over Garden City Empire, the Titans took out another Barrie team, sending the B Flyers home and the Maple Kings sent the Bricksquad to the showers. The semifinals featured two games decided by one goal with Big Bastone continuing their run to the finals by taking out another top seed and ending the Titans chance at a championship while the Gulls scored a goal early and played a tight defensive game to hold on to a 1-0 victory and forcing the Maple Kings to take their short drives home earlier then they hoped. In the B finals, we saw another closely contested matchup with Big Bastone, who took out the #1, #2 and #3 seeds, now facing last years Men’s B Finalists - the London Gulls for the jackets, banner and their names on the trophy. In yet another 1 goal game, we saw the Gulls take the lead and shut down the other team in a fast paced final. In the end, the London Gulls finally got the B division championship they have been fighting for winning 2-1.
Congratulations to the 2018 Men’s B Champions, London Gulls featuring Austin Blais, Cameron Bond, Gordon Clemas, Drew Clemas, Connor Lyttle, Daniel Day, Matt Delisle, Kyle Dicicco, Derek Hann, Andrew Harriman-Duke, Connor McMay, Troy Minor, Trent Minor, Mitchell Morin, Jake Morin, Brandon Stockwell, Brandon Thompson and Clayton Wielsen.
On the C side, in the first game of the quarterfinals, the top seeded Vicious Alpacas fell apart and lost 4-0 to the hardworking 8th seeded Hamilton Haze team in the biggest upset of the round. The Hamilton Knights had the biggest win defeating the Niagara Chiefs 6-1. The Niagara Falls Canucks fought a tough Two and Ten Custom Apparel team from the US and took the game 5-3 with a late empty net goal and the Christie Panthers took out the only remaining Barrie team, the Brawlers in a tight 3-1 matchup. In the semifinals, behind the stellar play of goaltender Bryan Blancher, the Haze took it to the Panthers 3-1 to secure their spot in the finals while the Canucks sent the Knights home and capturing the last spot in the C Finals. The C finals was a goaltending duel as both Blancher and Denis Rea for the Canucks seemed to stop everything thrown their way. The Canucks got a late goal in the second from Michael Bertone to take a 1-0 lead into the third and held tight. Rea stopped every shot the Haze could muster and Daniel Legault added another goal to cement their lead on their way to capturing the Men’s C title.
Congratulations to the 2018 Men’s C Champions, Niagara Falls Canucks featuring Brad Adams, Michael Bertone, Tyler Bowman Ford, Mike Calbury, Curtis Dagenais, Keith Dale, Nico Kozic, Daniel Legault, Tristyn Lewis, Steve McArthur Jr., Cam McLean, Frank Nemeth, Denis Rea, Kevin St.Jean, Nick Stavrou, Matt Steinschifter, Brian Szolga and Eric Tardif.
Women’s A/B Recap
On the women’s side, out of the 14 teams who entered, the top 6 would form the A pool, the next 6 the B pool and the teams who finished in the last two places wouldn’t make it through.
For the round robin games, all teams played 3 games to decide who would move on. The 2017 Women’s B Champs, Ottawa Blackout beat the always tough 2016 Women’s B Champs, Niagara Beastie Bitches, Lupi and Timmins to go undefeated and take the top seed. The 2016 Women’s A Champs, London Norstar looked dominant going 3-0 in round robin as well including a tough 1-0 victory over Barrie Black Donaleighs to finish second seed. The 2017 Women’s A Champions, Ontario Panthers, comprised of numerous Team Canada players, dropped a game against the Beasties but still scored enough points to end up 5th in the A pool. Rounding out the top 6 to form the A pool was Team Name in 3rd, local faves Barrie Black Donaleighs in 4th and Ottawa Peskies in 6th. On the B side, Timmins, Withrow Women, Beasties, Goonies, Lupi and Fonthill Team Awesome all scored one win in round robin to send them all through to the elimination games on Sunday. The two teams who didn’t record a victory were the ones who went home early.
In the A quarterfinals, we saw two shutouts posted as the Panthers scored one goal to hold off the Black Donaleighs and Team Name get 3 against the Peskies to send the Ottawa based team home. In the semis, we got to see a great game between the first seed Ottawa Blackout and the Panthers in what could have easily been a championship game. In the end, the Panthers were too strong and pulled out another 1-0 win to go to the championship. In the other semifinal, the Norstar continued their undefeated streak by handing Team Name their final loss 4-1 to setup the game against the Panthers. The finals was a solid matchup that saw both teams battling hard to capture the title with the Panthers hoping to repeat and London Norstar hoping to play the spoiler and reclaim the top spot in Women’s A. In a tough game, London scored a nice goal in the first period to take the lead and would never relinquish it. They followed it up with a goal in the second that made its way through a crowd and into the back of the net. The Panthers fought hard to try to get back into it but just couldn’t solve the goaltender. In the end, the Norstar went undefeated, 5-0 and only allowed 2 goals all tournament long to take the championship.
Congratulations to the 2018 Women’s A Champions, London Norstar featuring Kathleen Adelseberger, Jennifer Coombs, Kayla Horney, Katrina Jegg, Meghan Lavery, Kelly Librodi, Carly Marino, Carlene McNulty, Alexandra Newell, Giuliana Pallotta, Natalie Roby, Katarina Selinger, Cassandra Silverthorn, Devon Skeats and Brianne Warner.
The B quarters saw the Beasties easily beat Team Awesome 5-1 in an uneven matchup to force a matchup against Withrow, while Lupi used their speed to get past the Goonies and claim their spot in the semis against top seeded Timmins. Both semifinals featured games that weren’t even close. Beasties crushed Withrow 6-0 while Lupi sent Timmins on the long drive home with a 4-1 thumping to setup the Lupi - Beasties B final. Lupi was trying to get the first Women’s B championship for Toronto ever but just couldn’t get past the extremely strong Beasties team. The girls from Niagara were the top scoring team of the tournament with 19 goals for enroute to their championship win.
Congratulations to the 2018 Women’s B Champions, Niagara Beastie Bitches featuring Brittany Agius, Siobhan Black, Jenny Brine, Fiona Davis, Michelle Edgar, Megan Haynes, Shasta Kerr, Jalene McCulloch, Bailee McMullan, Nicole McMullin, Britany Nagy, Jessica Rattle, Annalise Roby, Becca Spence, Andrea Walters and Ashley Watson.