Flyers Warriors Win National Championships- Recapping Tier III

stinger flyers warriors

The message to the Flyers Warriors from Head Coach Brad Marsh was simple. “I expect all three teams to win the whole thing!”

To do that, Marsh planned on building the team up so that no other team would be able to skate with them. Practice consisted of a lot of skating, and I mean A LOT of skating. Marshy threw in some passing drills as well, but the focus was building our legs. For this writer, who works shift work and is neck-deep in coaching his kid’s sports, I missed out on a lot of practices. To try and keep up, I did work on my own at the kid’s practices. Note to my parents, sorry, you now know why I was working on my edgework and backward skating.

Well, the Flyers Warriors did exactly what head coach Brad Marsh intended. ALL Three teams brought home the championship trophies in their respective tiers at the USA Hockey Warrior Classic. The event was a three-day affair that was hosted by the Flyers Warriors and Flyers Alumni. Three days spaced between Hollydell in Sewell, NJ, and the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, NJ. It was three days of fun and some tough hockey. Three days where we as a team proved that a close-knit bond of former veterans crosses city and state boundaries. In the end, we all want each other to be well.
Photo Credit: Heather Barry

In the interest of keeping this short, my recap of the weekend will continue as a series. Tier I and Tier II teams will feature in the coming days.

Tier III sets the stage early

To quote Tier II warrior, Mike “Doc” Rutcosky, “Tier 3 blew the damn doors off the tournament, winning every game decisively (including the championship) and constantly setting the tone for us to follow.” Now for some perspective. We call the teams Tier I, II, and III, internally. That doesn’t mean that is the level of play. Tier II won the Tier IV division, and Tier III won the Tier VII Division. I mention this to avoid confusion or claims that we deliberately played in lower levels. To my knowledge, USA Hockey assigned the divisions.

Tier III started their tournament on Friday at 8 AM vs the squad from Kansas City. Prior to the game, I was speaking with K.C’s Alternate Captain. K.C. Warriors traveled to Philly with just eight skaters. They had a rough couple of weeks in the personnel department. In the interest of respecting K.C. I will not go any further. However, their goalie did not travel with them. In a show of solidarity, Pittsburgh Warriors lent K.C. one of their netminders. He would be the goalie we would play against the most.

The Flyers were too much for short-staffed K.C. Skaters. Coach Marsh and Coach Rob Baer really trained the legs. The tired warriors from K.C. just couldn’t keep up the Flyers’ pace. In the end, The Flyers cruised to a 12-1 win. The Flyers’ goal scorers were Brandon Traister (2), Alec Costanzi (2), Rob Pomroy, Matt Stinger, Brian Lounsberry, Adam Tucker (2), Thomas LaCorte, and Cyndee Shankin who scored her first-ever goal! For this, Cyndee was named player of the game. It would not be the last we heard from “Shanks the Sniper.”

Next up- the Pittsburgh Warriors

A day after the NHL Flyers dropped one to Pittsburgh in O.T., the Warriors would get some revenge. I was fortunate to get the scoring started:

The game was tight until the third when The Flyers scored two and won the game 3-1. The Player of the Game honors went to Lounsberry for his stellar two-way play. It should be noted that we just peppered the Pittsburgh goaltender. He simply played a great game. The three that got by him were deflections off his defenders. He is also a Flyers fan, so he has that going for him. Shankin scored the game-winner and David Meltzer added the insurance goal, his first as a Warrior.

Flyers Warriors Close out Play vs Mike McKenna’s St. Louis Warriors

The pool play came to an end on Saturday when the Flyers Warriors took on former Flyer, Mike McKenna and his warriors from the Arch. In the end, it was again the speed and conditioning of the Flyers that proved too much. The Flyers scored early and took a commanding lead. They finished strong and beat St. Louis 10-2.

Artie Ford was named player of the game for scoring his first career goal. In fact, he played his first game with the Warriors, and Coach Marsh said it was the first game he has ever played. Congrats Artie! Well Deserved. Another Flyer who scored his first goal was Shane Pease. It wouldn’t be his last. Thomas Bialowski, William Wolf Sr., Rob Senchek, each scored their first as a Flyer Warrior. Others who contributed were John Hewczuk, Kevin Savidge, Lacorte, Michel Boulduc, and Damien Rishell

Championship Sunday

Pittsburgh vs Philly for the Tier VII title. It just seemed fitting! The Flyers started the game a little timid. A turnover in the defensive zone was converted to a goal by Pitt. The Flyers were trailing for the first time in the tournament. The lead would only last a couple of minutes thought. Rishell scored to tie it and the rout was on.

In the end, it was speed and conditioning that helped carry the Flyers to the championship. Matt Berzeba scored the first goal of his hockey career, and it ended up being the game-winner. The Flyers win 6-2. Shankin scored for the fourth game in a row, scoring twice to give her five goals on the weekend. Not bad for a player who hadn’t scored before. Shane Pease was named player of the game for his hustle and grit and for adding his second on the weekend. Tucker added his fifth of the weekend as well.

On hand to watch and present the winning teams their Cup and Banner were USA Hockey, Flyers Hockey Hall of Famers John LeClair, Paul Holmgren, and NHL Hall of Famer Mark Howe.

One championship won, two to go. Stick with Philly Sports Network as Tier I and Tier II recaps will be coming out soon!