EppsNet Archive: NARCh

NARCh 2011 – Day 4


Semifinal: Devil Dogs vs. Tour Stealth Both teams played a strong game. The Devil Dogs gave up the first goal, evened it up at 1-1, then allowed the go-ahead goal with about four minutes left. They had some chances to tie it back up but couldn’t make it happen. Stealth added an empty-net goal with two seconds left. Final Score: Stealth 3, Devil Dogs 1 Semifinal: Choice Inline Selects vs. Top Gun I didn’t see this game because I was watching the Devil Dog semi so I can’t tell you anything about it other than the final score. Final Score: Selects 4, Top Gun 2   Bronze Medal Game: Devil Dogs vs. Top Gun Three of the four teams in the semifinals win a medal — gold, silver or bronze. One team — the loser of the bronze medal game — doesn’t. Coming into this game, I was trying to… Read more →

NARCh 2011 – Day 3


Devil Dogs vs. Tour Roadrunners 93 (NY) The Devil Dogs came into the fourth and final round-robin game with two wins and a loss, needing at least a tie to clinch a playoff spot. The game didn’t start off well for the Dogs. They trailed 3-1 after the first period, their goalie had let in a bad goal on a long slapshot, and they’d missed on some good scoring opportunities. They were also coming off a disappointing loss the night before, so I was proud of their mental toughness in coming back to tie the game 3-3 with about three minutes left. A Roadrunner player took an untimely penalty with 1:37 left in the game. The Dogs were able to control the puck on the power play until, with 11 seconds remaining, they scored on a one-timer off a cross-rink pass for the game-winning goal. Final Score: Devil Dogs 4,… Read more →

NARCh 2011 – Day 2


Two more round-robin games today, morning and evening . . . Devil Dogs 6, Detroit Mission Stars 2 Devil Dogs played a great game, best I’ve seen them play this season. ISCA Grizzlies (NJ) 5, Devil Dogs 3 The Grizzlies are a good, fast team. That said, the Devil Dogs played a subpar game. Tomorrow is a critical day. Final round-robin games in the morning, after which the top teams start the single-elimination playoff rounds. By the end of the day, only four teams will be left standing. If the Devil Dogs win their last round-robin game, they’ll be in the playoffs at 3-1. If they lose, they’ll be 2-2 and could still get a low playoff seed, but it will be a close call . . . Read more →

NARCh 2011 – Day 1


Devil Dogs 5, MKS (Colombia) 1 The Devil Dogs played their first round-robin game today. Latin American roller hockey teams typically have a) raucous supporters, b) kids who look suspiciously old for their age, and c) an up-tempo style of play like they’re jacked up on coke, which they probably are. The first time you see this, you say to yourself, or to someone sitting next to you, “There’s no way they can play at that speed the whole game. They’ll wear themselves out.” But sure enough, they do play that speed the whole game. Having said that, the MKS kids all looked age-appropriate, and while they had some fast players, they didn’t maintain the non-stop, end-to-end pace that I expected. Read more →

NARCh 2011 – Travel Day


LA to Houston We’re waiting at LAX for a flight to Houston when a large black man in his 20s sits down near us in the waiting area. “I could take that guy one-on-one,” my kid announces. I’m about to mention to him that not every big black dude is necessarily a basketball player when he says, “Wait a minute, isn’t that Mario Williams?” I have to admit to him that I wouldn’t recognize Mario Williams if I saw him. He pulls up a photo of Mario Williams on his iPhone. “Yeah,” I say, “that does look like him.” “And he’s waiting for a flight to Houston? That’s got to be Mario Williams.” The final clue is that the guy is decked out in Adidas gear from head to toe. A Google search for “mario williams adidas” on the iPhone reveals that Mario Williams has a sponsorship deal with Adidas.… Read more →

NARCh Wrapup


As expected, Mission Black Ice 93 and the Mississauga Mission Rattlers reached the Bantam Platinum finals, with Black Ice winning 4-3. The Colorado Kodiaks won the bronze medal, which you could think of as the gold medal for the rest of the field, because no one was in the same class as the Rattlers or Black Ice. My son’s team, Revision Devil Dogs, had a killer draw: three of their four round-robin games were against the three medal-winning teams. They tied the Kodiaks and lost the other two. Had they been able to beat the Kodiaks — and the Kodiaks’ goalie made a tough save at the final horn — the Devil Dogs would have advanced to the playoff round and the Kodiaks would have been ousted. Final thoughts In a way, I’d like my son to win every tournament he plays because I want him to be happy, but… Read more →

Happy 17th Birthday


My son turned 17 today at the NARCh tournament in San Jose and he went with his teammates to Applebee’s for dinner. The boys know that he doesn’t like to be the center of attention for things like having “Happy Birthday” sung for him in a restaurant so I’m sure they made every effort to prevent that from happening . . . Read more →

NARCh – Day 2


Two more round-robin games on Day 2 . . . Game 3 – Mississauga Mission Rattlers Remember when I said Mission Black Ice is the best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen? I may have spoken too soon on that. I’ll be shocked if the Rattlers and Black Ice don’t face each other in the final to find out which team is really the best in the universe. The Devil Dog goalie was great yesterday but not today. He gave up eight goals, should have stopped about five of them, but didn’t get much help from his teammates either. Final Score: Rattlers 8, Devil Dogs 0. Ouch.   Game 4 – Colorado Dynamite Both teams came into the game with a good chance of slipping in to the playoff round as the fifth and final seed with a victory. It was a very even game — too even. The game ended… Read more →

NARCh – Day 1


The Devil Dogs played two round-robin games on Day 1 . . . Game 1 – Mission Black Ice 93 Black Ice is from New York. They’re a great team. Best 16-and-under team I’ve ever seen. In fact, they’re better than any 18-and-under team I’ve ever seen. What a juggernaut! The Devil Dog kids looked nervous. They looked tight. They didn’t handle the puck cleanly. Black Ice was ahead 3-0 after the first period. The Dogs tightened things up and played a scoreless second period. I wanted to say something encouraging to my boy after the game. “You played them even the second period,” I said. “No we didn’t,” he replied. “Well . . . on the scoreboard you did.” Final Score: Black Ice 3, Devil Dogs 0   Game 2 – Colorado Kodiaks The Dogs matched up better physically with the Kodiaks than with Black Ice although the Kodiaks… Read more →

A Bad Start


The tournament is off to a bad start and the boys haven’t even taken the rink yet. One boy showed up yesterday with a 103 fever. I’m hearing this morning that his parents took him to urgent care. Nobody knows right now if he’s going to be able to play. Hang on, it gets worse. I don’t know who knows it yet but another boy went home late last night. His mom, who wasn’t at the tournament, died in her sleep. She wasn’t the healthiest person but she was about the same age as I am and wasn’t expected to die. I heard about it this morning from one of the other dads, who’s a friend of their family. He heard about it last night when the boy’s dad woke him up with a phone call. My son doesn’t know about it yet. He’s still asleep. I’m trying to think… Read more →

Leaving Tomorrow for NARCh


We’re heading out tomorrow morning for NARCh in San Jose — the grand finale, end-of-the-season roller hockey tournament. The tournament’s actually been going on for a week and a half but Casey’s division — Bantam Platinum — doesn’t start till Tuesday. Bantam is the 16-and-under division, with a DOB cutoff date of December 31, so this season’s Bantam players are kids born in 1993 or 1994. The Platinum division is the AAA division. Most tournaments call the skill divisions A, AA and AAA, but NARCh calls them Silver, Gold and Platinum. So Bantam Platinum is 16-and-under AAA.   In order to play at the NARCh final, your team has to play in a regional qualifying tournament. Based on your results in the qualifier, the tournament committee either assigns you to the Silver, Gold or Platinum division, or — if it’s a close call — they assign you to two divisions… Read more →

Playing Up


Last weekend’s WIHA roller hockey tournament in Irvine brings us a lesson in hubris . . . My kid plays for Revision Devil Dogs, a 16U AA team. Unfortunately, the 16U teams showing up for WIHA tournaments this season haven’t been providing a lot of competition for the boys so they’ve played up the last couple of tournaments in the 18U AA division. In this one, they found themselves in a situation where if they won their fourth and final round-robin game against AKS by at least two goals, they’d finish in a three-way tie for second and would, based on a complex tie-break formula including goals against, get to play in the final. A Devil Dog loss, tie or even a one-goal victory would put AKS in the final. AKS is a good team. They beat the Devil Dogs easily in a tournament in February and seemed to be… Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 4


Semifinal This one was like a replay of the third round-robin game. Final Score: West Coast Warriors 2, Devil Dogs 0   “They couldn’t buy a goal,” one of the moms said. “Are you allowed to buy goals?” I asked. “We need to make a new rule for that,” she said. The Warriors went on to lose 5-1 to NorCal Riot Black in the 16U final. That score surprised me, since NorCal couldn’t score on the Devil Dogs and the Devil Dogs couldn’t score on West Coast. I’ve got to find out if any parents stayed to watch the final. How did NorCal get 5 goals on the West Coast boys? Whatever they did, the Devil Dogs should start doing it . . . Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 3


Game 4 The Devil Dogs are running into hot goalies. They’ve been shut out two games in a row, this one a scoreless tie against undefeated NorCal Riot Black. Final Score: Devil Dogs 0, NorCal Riot Black 0   The tie is good enough to put the Dogs in tomorrow’s single-elimination round against the West Coast Warriors — who beat them yesterday — with the winner playing NorCal Riot Black in the final. Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 2


Game 3 The West Coast Warriors are a team of big kids from British Columbia. The Devil Dogs had some trouble dealing with their size and speed. And the Warriors’ goalie played a great game. Final Score: West Coast Warriors 2, Devil Dogs 0   The final round-robin games are scheduled for tomorrow. Depending on how things go, the Devil Dogs could be the top-seed for the single-elimination round or they could get knocked out of the tournament. Their game is against NorCal Riot Black, who are undefeated at 3-0. Read more →

NARCh Winternationals – Day 1


Game 1 Everybody wants to score goals; nobody wants to play defense. Everybody wants to make a big play; nobody wants to make the little plays. The kids came out too revved up, made a lot of mistakes and were fortunate to win the game. Final Score: Devil Dogs 5, Silicon Valley Quakes 3   Game 2 The boys calmed down and played the best game I’ve ever seen them play — and I see every game. Final Score: Devil Dogs 4, NorCal Riot Red 0   Two round-robin games left, against what look like stronger teams. Read more →

Why I Don’t Go to Sandra Bullock Movies


Some of the hockey moms here at the tournament went to see The Proposal and are giving it rave reviews — “Classic Sandra Bullock!” Blah blah blah . . . “Sandra Bullock used to be pretty cute,” I say, “but now she looks like a guy, don’t you think?” “Are you kidding?! For 45, she looks amazing!” When I unscrunch my hard-earned dollar bills to see a movie, I want more than “looks good for 45.” I can get “looks good for 45” at home . . . Read more →

NARCh – Day 4


The Devil Dogs would have liked to be playing today but weren’t after last night’s 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to the Cougars. In the semifinals, the #5 seed Cougars got smoked 6-1 by the #2 seed Detroit Mission Stars 92, while the #1 seed Adrenaline, another Michigan team, beat the #6 seed ISCA Grizzlies from New Jersey 10-4. In the final, the Stars beat Adrenaline 5-2 to win the gold medal. As the highest-seeded semifinal loser, the Cougars earned the bronze medal.   Everyone who’s played a sport for a while has been on the wrong end of last-minute losses. If you can’t take the occasional tough loss, you always have the option of not playing the sport. But I have to admit that the coaching decisions at the end of last night’s game are going to haunt me for a while. Putting the wrong team on the rink in the… Read more →

NARCh – Day 3


Quarterfinals: The Devil Dogs led 1-0 most of the game, but gave up two goals in the last minute to lose 2-1. They’re out of the tournament. My son was crying after the game when he came out of the locker room — not weeping, but he had tears in his eyes. Don’t tell him I told you. He never cries after games. I was this close to crying myself when I saw him. I’m now going to violate my policy of never questioning coaches’ decisions. Hockey’s a team game, but if I’m going to lose a game in the last minute, I’m going to lose it with my strongest players on the rink. I was looking out there with a minute left and a 1-0 lead and I couldn’t see how having the two biggest, fastest kids on the bench gave the team the best chance to win that… Read more →



Seedings are up for single-elimination. Devil Dogs seeded #4 and will play the #5 seed New Jersey Cougars tonight. Cougars were undefeated in round-robin — two wins and two ties. The ties were strange: they tied the #2 seed Detroit Mission Stars 92, but they also tied a not-so-good California team that got knocked out in round-robin . . . Read more →

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