Championship Sunday - And the Bubbas go to...

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2017-04-30
Another OFBHL season has come to an end and I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for taking part in this league and helping to make it what it is, I may be biased (just a little) but I've played in most of the leagues around the city and our Sunday morning league is the most fun I have playing ball hockey, that is due to the group of amazing people who come back season after season for the love of the game.

  • Congratulations!: After an outstanding 2 weeks of playoff action two teams were able to win 3 games and walk away as champions. Congrats to A pool champs Chara Chainsaw Massacre and rookie captains Mike Stefanic and Devin McManus who upset their way to the Bubba. In the B, congrats to Hands of Stone and at long last OFBHL jack of all trades Craig Richer for finally ending a season with a win!


  • Banquet!: We are very happy to support one of our own Pat Fynn and his establishment The Brass Monkey located at 250 Greenbank Road. The event will be held Saturday June 3rd, festivities will kick off at 8PM and go until the wee hours. Cost as usual will be $5 per person, this helps offset some of the cost of hosting the event and gives you access to a pub style buffet of pizza, wings etc. Later in the night the Monkey will be hosting an Aerosmith cover band, it should be a great night. Come out for the some food, drinks, laughs and the award presentations then stay for some great music! More details will be sent out closer to the event, but mark it on your calendars now!


  • Awards voting:: The link for Awards Voting is now available look under Awards -> Awards Voting and place your votes! During your voting you'll also have the opportunity to pass on feedback in an anonymous manner so take advantage and send any suggestions, comments, complaints etc and they'll be addressed. Winners will be announced at the banquet on June 3rd and added to the website soon after.


  • Fall 2017 Season:: I've already had some people inquiring about next season, emails will go out to this same list in early August with details on the new season, at that point you can reserve your spot for the upcoming season. Unless something weird happens the anticipated start date will be September 10th, 2017.


Now onto the recaps from Championship Sunday:

8:10 Generation X vs Surewoods & Kohos (View Boxscore & Recap)

B Pool - GenX drown S&K in an orange rubber bath of shots

Our first semifinal of the day was a great matchup with the teams finishing the regular season second and third in the B pool and both coming off dominant first round victories, early on this game was all Generation X as they poured on the shots in the first period and would be rewarded with goals from Mark Yeates and Patrick Auger and would hold a 2-0 lead after a period with a 19-14 edge on the shot board. Despite their lead GenX would actually pick up their pace in the second frame but both tenders were on point holding this game, with just over 5 minutes to play GenX would extend their lead with what turned out to be a very important insurance marker off the stick of Brad Smith after receiving a feed from captain Yeates, with their season on the brink S&K would finally find a chink in MC Chartrand's armour thanks to Andre Monette, then with 1:38 remaining Andre would set up usual playoff performer Rachel Clermont to set up a wild finish down 3-2. S&K would throw everything on net in the final seconds but could not beat MC again, Generation X advance to the Mini-Bubba final with a 3-2 win, a closer game that the 45-28 shot count would indicate it should have been.

9:00 Chara Chainsaw Massacre vs Meet Lucille (View Boxscore & Recap)

A Pool - McManus and the lovebirds lead CCM to the Championship game

Our first A pool matchup of the day featured the 6th seeded Chara Chainsaw Massacre coming off an upset last week looking to pull off another one versus the 4th seeded Meet Lucille, this game featured statistically the two best remaining goalies from the regular season in Devin McManus and Steven Toste so a low scoring affair was expected. The game would start relatively slowly with the teams feeling each other out and not wanting to make a mistake, ML would get on the board first just over halfway through the period on a patented Spencer McDonald blast but the lead wouldn't last as the silky smooth sniper Jeff Squires would even things less than a minute later with an unnassisted snipe, that's how the period would end with the score tied 1-1 and ML holding a slight 19-18 advantage on the shot board. The second period was much like the first but ML were doing a bit more of the shooting but were not able to beat the acrobatic CCM netminder, about halfway through the period the other half of the CCM "power couple" Kiyomi Takahara would take a feed from her mate Jeff and her captain Mike Stefanic and beat Toste with a deft wrister to give CCM their first lead of the day, exactly two minutes later Kiyomi would throw in another dagger courtesy of another Squires pass and ML were down 3-1 with 8 minutes left to play. To their credit ML would throw everything including the kitchen sink on goal in the final minutes but they could not pierce the CCM defensive shell or beat McManus who was on a mission in this game, Squires would a very late empty net goal to cap a dominant 4 point effort combining with his partner Kiyomi and stellar goaltender McManus to lead his team to the finals.

9:50 Breaking Bad vs Hands Of Stone (View Boxscore & Recap)

B Pool - Hands of Silk take a barnburner over Breaking Bad

Our second B pool semi had the top ranked Hands of Stone taking on the wildcard winning Breaking Bad for a date with GenX in the B Final, early on this game was fairly slow paced, Al Bolduc would open ths scoring 5 minutes in for BB and after that neither team would be able to find the twine for an extended period, turns out they were merely resting up for the explosion that was to come... with 5 minutes left in the first HOS would tie the game thanks to Eric Bekkers who, spoiler alert, was about to go on a tear, less than a minute later HOS would take their first lead of the day on a Jason Kellar snipe but BB would get that back with a goal by Kelly Brant, with time ticking on the first period HOS would explode for a pair in the final minute with Stephanie Bigras and Craig Richer both mashing the mesh on feeds by Bekkers, after a relatively slow opening the period would end with a total of 5 goals scored in the last 5 minutes and HOS holding a 4-2 lead. The scoring would continue into the second with BB captain Brock Murray willing his team back within one, unfortunately for Brock and his team a 5 minute stretch starting at the 16 minute would be difficult to bounce back from, starting at 15:59 of the period and ending at the 10:45 mark HOS would explode for the second time in this game with 5 goals in 5 minutes with Bekkers in on 4 of those goals, Captain Richer would convert a pair of Bekkers feeds into goals for what is believed to be the first hat trick of his illustrious OFBHL career and HOS would be on the verge of a mercy victory up 9-3. Despite a difficult season BB have been resilient all year and they refused to go away quietly, Brock took matters into his own hands registering 3 goals and an assist in the final 8 minutes but Bekkers' hat trick marker and 8th point of the game would be the final dagger in BB's season as HOS book their ticket to the B final with a 10-7 victory.

10:40 Rocker Stalkers vs SasQuach (View Boxscore & Recap)

A Pool - Murphy and Toste put up some fireworks but SasQuach depth pushes them to the finals

Our last semifinal of the day pitted the 2nd seeded SasQuach against the upstart Rocker Stalkers coming off a big upset of the 1st seeded Flux Capacitors one week ago, this one would a barnburner pretty much from the opening drop as a pair of snipers took turns showing off their impressive scoring chops. Less than 3 minutes in SQ sniper Jeff Murphy would get the proverbial ball rolling for his team to give them an early lead, RS would have an answer for that and it was Steve Toste who would dance his way to an unbelievable 3 goals in just over 2 minutes, Steve's natural hat trick put RS up 3-1 halfway through the first period but SQ didn't blink, over the ensuing 3 minutes Murphy would set up the snipe another while Steve Andrews add one of his own and the RS lead quickly evaporated as they trailed by a goal yet again, very late in the first D turned F Tanya Di Virgilio would continue her breakout season with a big goal to send this game to the break locked at 4-4 with RS holding a 20-15 edge in shots. Five minutes into period 2 Toste would strike for his 4th of the game as RS regained the lead, unfortunately for his team things would quickly go south after that goal... Dale Cahoon would tie the game just two minutes later and then SQ would pull up their socks and absolutely dominate the remainder of the game, in fact they would go on to score the next 6 goals of the game including 3 more from Murphy to give him 5 goals and 2 assists on the day, not to be outdone Toste would pot a late one for his team, his 5th of the day as well but the difference in this game was the scoring depth as 6 of 8 SasQuach players notched at least one goal while only one other Rocker Stalker could find the net as SQ advance to the big game with an 11-6 victory.

11:30 Generation X vs Hands Of Stone (View Boxscore & Recap)

B Pool Championship - Killer B's lead the way as Ballem, Bekkers, Blondeau and Bigras give Richer a long awaited championship

Coming into his 15th season in the league Hands of Stone captain Craig Richer has literally done everything for the OFBHL and yet despite some (in)famous close calls he had yet to taste victory in the playoffs, facing off in the B pool final versus several good friends on Generation X including captain Mark Yeates could this finally be the season to end Craig's miserable run? On paper it certainly looked like it should be just that as HOS came in favoured after narrowly missing the A pool they'd rolled to 2 big playoff wins thanks in part to the efforts of Craig himself with 8 points in 2 games and oh yeah, a decent effort from his family as Eric Bekkers was working on a historic playoff run with 14 points in just 2 games played. The path to victory wouldn't be easy as GenX had seemed to find their playoff mojo led by resurgent goalie MC Chartrand who was unbeatable coming in allowing only 3 goals on 71 shots against while sniper John Dawley provided the offence with 5 points in 2 games. This game would start slow, HOS would control the bulk of the first half possession which reflected into a dominant 21-11 edge in shots but couldn't beat MC, finally with just over a minute in the period Bekkers and Captain Richer would hook up on another goal to give their team a 1-0 lead at halftime. GenX would come out flying in the 2nd eager to get the game back to even but HOS wanted this one for their captain and it showed, they would take over the possession game once more frustrating GenX with little room to move and when they did get through Dan Ballem as there to shut the door, Stephanie Bigras would pot the next one thanks to passes from Bekkers and Richer and then seconds later the dagger would come off the stick of Mel Blondeau again from a Bekkers feed, from that point on HOS would play keep away, Bekkers would add his 8th goal and 18th playoff point with less than two minutes left off a Blondeau feed (her 3rd point of the day) to make it official as Ballem posts his 4th career shutout in a 4-0 final. Congrats to Generation X on a strong playoff run salvaging what had to be a disappointing regular season for this team, they had undeniable talent but had difficulty putting it all together. At the other end of the rink congrats to the entire Richer family along with rookie sensation Jason Kellar on a well earned inaugural OFBHL championship.

12:20 Chara Chainsaw Massacre vs SasQuach (View Boxscore & Recap)

A Pool Championship - McManus takes a chainsaw to SQ leading CCM to the championship

Our last game of the Spring 2017 season featured 2 teams that took very different paths to the finals, at one end we had the second seeded SasQuach who beat off a couple of underdogs with big second half explosions in both their games, as one of the league's highest scoring teams all sesaon they continued that in the playoffs with 19 goals for in 2 games but they also gave up 10 against so could they defend enough to win the big one? On the other bench the sixth seeded CCM had pulled off 2 unlikely upsets to get to this point over the 3rd and 4th placed teams thanks mainly to co-captain Devin McManus, the diminutive ex-acrobat had been on fire thus far in the post season stopping 74 of 78 shots in his 2 wins, but as one of the lowest scoring teams in the league could they score enough to win? So a classic battle of offence vs defence was set up in this one but that wasn't the only storyline, like the B pool championship, this game feattured a hard luck veteran looking for some hardware, SQ skipper Andrew Stephens may not have been in the league for very long but he's had a long career's worth of heart break so far... in his 6 previous OFBHL season Andrew has made the A championship game 3 times with exactly zero wins to show for it, would fate finally shine on him this time? On the CCM side the opposite case could be made for Christina Osborne, the noted defensive specialist and shot blocker was looking for her unprecedented 3rd straight A pool championship, she had team up with partner Justin Labrecque for the previous two but was hoping to show him she could do it on her own as well without him this season.

As you would expect this game started out on the slow side as both teams were playing their second game of the day and didn't want to start off on the wrong foot, it would be CCM's other co-captain Mike Stefanic that would start things rolling in the game converting passes from Frank Blondeau and Christina Osborne to put CCM up 1-0, the lead would be shortlived as sniper Jeff Murphy would quickly reply notching his A pool leading 10th goal and 13th point of the playofffs unassisted to tie the game up, very late in the period CCM would once again reclaim their lead with a goal from an unlikely source, Katie Heath is known for being a force defensively but with just one previous OFHBL goal in her 52 career games it's safe to say this one was the biggest of her career as her marker with 2 minutes to play gave CCM a 2-1 edge at the buzzer. SQ would push hard to open the 2nd stanza but couldn't beat McManus, just when it seemed like SQ were on the verge of tying the game CCM looked to Osborne and she would show her championship pedigree with a rare goal of her own assisted by Frank Blondeau, his 3rd of the game, to extend the lead to 3-1, minutes later Jeff Squires would find a couple of inches of space but that's all he needs and all of a sudden SQ's hole was even deeper down 4-1 with 11 minutes to play. SQ would push the pace and come through with a couple of glorious chances but this was Devin McManus' day and he would not be beaten again, SQ pulled their goalie late but to top off a ridiculous goaltending performance Devin would actually get credit for a goal as the last member of his team to touch the ball when SQ accidentally scored on their own net, that capped a virtuoso performance in these playoffs for McManus who finished with a 1.67 GAA and 95.54% save percentage and a goal scored as CCM take the Bubba Cup by a 5-1 final.

Congrats first have to go to SasQuach, despite the 4th finals loss for captain Andrew Stephens this team had all the makings on a champion with a balanced attack, strong goaltending from rookie Steve Quach and a tenacious style of team defence, unfortunately for them they ran into a goalie who was simply on fire in these playoffs. apart from the aforementioned and now 3 straight champion Christina, CCM featured all first time Bubba Cup winners apart from Veronqiue Perreault who earned her second. Congratulations to rookie co-captains Devin and Mike Stefanic for pulling off the rare champinoship in their first go around running a team, it gets harder every season and the target is now squarely on your back for the Fall 2017 season, can't wait!

Original Four Stars of the Week

  1. Devin McManus & Christina Osborne - you can see all the stats above but it's safe to say that CCM would not have done much this postseason without the stellar play of Devin who would allow only 2 goals against in the semis and finals on 77 shots against. I'd also be remiss to not mention Christina, the noted defender, shot blocker and winner is the first player in OFBHL to take home 3 straight championships.


  2. Eric Bekkers - while I'm sure HOS were disappointed to be knocked out of the A pool in the final week of the season, a B pool championship is a pretty good consolation prize and as he was all season, Eric was the catalyst putting up a likely record 18 points in just 3 playoff games.


  3. Jeff Murphy - despite a loss in the championship game Jeff was a revelation this season riding his heavy shot and suprisingly good hands to a career best regular season and an A pool leading 10 goals and 13 points in the playoffs.


  4. MC Chartrand - after an up and down regular season the veteran tender was a rock for his team in the playoffs despite their finals loss, facing 112 total shots MC gave up only 7 goals with 4 of those coming in the final game.


Thanks!

Before signing off of the summer a few words of thanks to hand out:

  • A special thank you to Brian & Doug for being our main refs, it's a thankless job but their consistency and friendliness make things work on a weekly basis. Thanks to all of our player refs and scorekeepers for subbing in when necessary and keeping things running smoothly.


  • Thank you to everybody who has stepped up to take on the role of captain, your work and input are invaluable to me and to us as a league.


  • Thanks to each of you for bringing what you do to this league, for realizing what we are about and doing your part to further that goal.


  • Last but certainly not least, a huge thanks to right hand man Craig Richer, I hope you all appreciate the work he puts in for the love of this league.


 
 

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