Previously, I discussed the Flyers Warriors Tier III National Championship run. Today, I follow it up by recapping Tier II’s run to the USA Hockey Warrior Classic cup. The Flyers’ tier II team actually competed in USA Hockey’s Tier IV division. Just before the tournament started, it was announced that one of the teams had dropped out of the Classic. This was not the greatest of news for the teams in the Tier IV division. The tournament organizers were unable to fit in an extra game, but the Tier II Flyers would make the best of it.
Corrects form Tier III
John LeClair once told the Warriors that a goalie is training equipment for scorers. Well, I inadvertently took this approach in the last article. I forgot to mention the amazing play of our two goaltenders, Brian Wiechec and Brittany Shortall. The two combined to go 5-0 on the weekend, with one of the wins coming when Wiechec helped the K.C Warriors defeat St. Louis. Amazing work by our “training equipment.”
Flyers Start against Oklahoma Warriors
The Flyers Warriors Tier II team took to the ice not long after Tier III, last Friday morning. They played the Oklahoma Warriors. With just over three minutes left in the first, the Flyers scored first. Steve Kardon slapped home a rebound from a Kyle Hoffman shot. The first period ended with the Flyers in front 1-0.
While watching the game, two of my closest friends, and men’s league teammates on the Flyers Warriors took the ice together. I was proud of both Jamie Sparenga and Kevin Black as I watched them play a very competitive hockey game. Kevin Black had just started playing hockey a few years ago. Now he was a win on the Flyers’ Warriors Tier II team. Excellent work Black!
Of course, I had the privilege of watching the game with Black’s wife. As she recorded his shifts, she asked me to chirp Kevin, because he’s chirping everyone. Her idea was that we could get some good audio for our new podcast.
In the second period, the OK Warriors took the lead scoring three goals. The Flyers could not muster an answer as each shot was turned away by the Oklahoma Net-minder. The Flyers continued to press into the third period where they would eventually tie the game 3-3. Jason Freeland and Michael “Doc” Rutcosky scored with Black adding a helper on Doc’s game-tying goal.
Up Next, the Motor City Warriors:
On Saturday, the Flyers were to take on Johnstown Generals at 8 AM at Holleydell. Due to the Generals pulling out of the tournament, the Flyers’ were lucky to sleep in. However, they knew if they beat the team from Michigan, they would be in the finals against Oklahoma.
Less than four minutes into the first, Rutkosky opened the scoring with a shot from the wing. The lead wouldn’t last long as the Motor City Warriors tied it up about seven minutes later. That’s how the first period would end, tied 1-1.
With just about five minutes gone in the second period, Kyle Hoffman gave the Flyers’ the lead at the 9:01 mark of the period. Freeland would make it 3-1 when he deflected an Andrew Maenner shot to put the Flyers up two. The second period would end 3-1.
The third period started off much of the same. Bryan Guerrero added the Flyers’ fourth goal at the 6:01 mark of the frame. The Motor City Warriors added a power-play goal when #89 outworked the Flyers’ defense to score off his own rebound. The Flyers’ Hoffman would add his second goal to complete the scoring. The Flyers won 5-2 advancing to Sunday’s Championship.
The Flyers must have been flying high after watching Tier III win their championship. The Tier II team were stood against the glass as we exited. Everyone was pumped up. Congratulations were met with comments like, “it’s your turn, good luck, get it done, kick their a**, and let’s f-in go!”
The Oklahoma Warriors team was not too impressed with the Flyers’ Tier III Championship. Oklahoma jumped out to a 1-0 lead before I even exited the dressing room. As I watched some of my closest friends and teammates play, I couldn’t help but feel jealous that I wasn’t playing with them. The game looked fast and was really competitive. Oklahoma had some good skaters and had a few strong chances. Although they were down 3-0 in the first period, The Flyers were buzzing and getting their chances. Then it happened, the momentum shifted as Rutcosky, Matt Fastnacht and Freeland scored to make it 3-3 after one.
Hoffman would continue his hot hand as he got the Flyers their first lead early in the second period. The Flyers would add two more during the frame when two good Drexel Hill boys, defenseman Bill Meyer and center Maenner, AKA The Boot, each scored. The Boot got the nickname for being the youngest player on the Warriors. The second period ended 6-3.
The third period got underway and Oklahoma gets within one when a rebound shot is banged home.My man, Jamie Sparenga answered to get the goal back and make it 7-4. Hoffman would add his second of the tilt to make it 8-4. That would be the final as the Flyers close it out and go two for two in Championships.
The Flyers Warriors’ Tier II Championship would not have been possible without the amazing play of their goaltenders Nehemiah Tinsley and John Reider. The goaltending was just phenomenal turning away multiple scoring chances. Congratulations to the Tier II team on a well-earned championship. Next up, I will recap Tier I’s run to the cup!