Tahoe teams finish runner-up in holiday hockey tournament
It would have been hard to come up with a more dramatic hockey game – even on the Versus channel.
The Tahoe Grizzlies and Santa Rosa Flyers were unable to settle a back-and-forth Lake Tahoe Invitational championship match through three periods and a five-minute overtime.
Separation finally came for the Flyers in the fifth round of a shootout, providing the Santa Rosa club with a 5-4 squirt division title at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.
“We got in the locker room and they are all hanging their heads down low and crying. ‘What are you crying for?’ said Grizzlies’ assistant Jim Marino. “We lost an overtime shootout in the championship game. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Santa Rosa gained the upperhand halfway through the match as Mitchell Rickert scored twice, including one off a penalty shot.
“There was nothing we could do about those goals,” said Grizzlies’ defender Leah Marino. “We just really wanted to win that banner and hang it up in our rink. We had to get it back, and we couldn’t let down. We played our hardest.”
Mickey Sullivan’s goal with 1 minute, 24 seconds left in the second period infused the Grizzlies with the momentum to mount a rally.
Only 11 seconds into the final period, Lucas Demsar knotted the score on assists from Sullivan and Zachary Dill.
However, Mason Siemsen put the Flyers back on top by stuffing in a loose puck with 10:24 to go.
Tahoe kept the score close, killing a penalty midway through the final period, and Nicholas Ilvento stopped several close-range shots.
With time running out on the Grizzlies’ championship cause, Sullivan pushed a shot through the legs of goaltender Alejandro Barajas, tying the score at 3 with 1:46 remaining.
Before time expired, Ilvento made another save and Barajas went to his knees to stop a shot by Nicholas Cruz.
Santa Rosa produced the best scoring chances in the five-minute overtime period, with Ilvento denying Rickert on a breakaway and off a face-off.
In the shootout, Ilvento stopped Gordon McCallum’s attempt, and Tahoe’s Sullivan’s shot was wide of the mark. Dukotah Hutcheon beat Ilvento with a shot to the right side, and Barajas turned away Dill’s attempt. In the third round, Alexander Coffel put Santa Rosa ahead 5-3, but Cameron Johnson answered. Tahoe remained in the shootout as Ilvento thwarted the next two shooters, but Nathan Moffat and Demsar were unable to find the back of the net, ending the match and sending Santa Rosa gloves and sticks flying all over the ice.
“Santa Rosa is a great team, great coaches,” coach Marino said. “I’d just love to play them again.”
The Grizzlies, who lost to Santa Rosa twice during the holiday tournament, take an unbeaten and first-place record into NorCal matches this weekend.
Bailey scores twice in peewee final
In the peewees’ final, seven different San Diego players scored goals in an 8-3 win over the Tahoe Grizzlies on Monday morning.
Tahoe quickly fell into a 4-1 hole and each time the Grizzlies scored, San Diego had an immediate answer.
Carson Bailey broke the ice for Tahoe, scoring on a breakaway with 12.9 seconds remaining in the first period. But San Diego retaliated with :03 left on Jared Wilmer’s rebound shot.
Bailey netted his second goal at the 11:14 mark of the second period, but San Diego’s Cade Frederick answered at 10:27.
“We really beat ourselves,” said Tahoe Grizzlies’ coach Frank Gubello. “We did a lot of things we don’t normally do. Big-time defensive lapes. We were taking a lot of chances. I teach them to take chances, but they also have to be responsible for the chances they get.”
John Moffat’s third-period goal on an assist from Edward Parkhill pulled Tahoe within 6-3, but San Diego responded 17 seconds later.
Tahoe advanced to the finals by tying this same San Diego team 4-4 and beating Oakland 5-1 and Santa Rosa 5-4.
“8-3 is definitely not indicative of the team we normally have out there,” Gubello said. “The nerves and the situation got the better of a group of 12-year-olds.”
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