CMHL Crowns Winners
By Jack Borenstein
Championship day in the three divisions of the CMHL tourney at Chesswood Arena Involved a pair of shutouts wins, along with a playoff final that was two game in one.
Culture Cup (Women’s) Championship: Macedonian Sun 5-0 win over Japanese Typhoon was their third championship (including 2012 and 2013 Cup) in the past four CMHL tourneys. The score was not indicative of how competitive this game was for nearly two periods, as Arashi netminder Naomi Katsumi made 20 consecutive saves including a few of the outstanding variety.
However two Sun goals in the last minute of the second period by forwards Emily Popelar off a rebound scramble and Missy Kennedy’s 32 foot slap shot off Katsumi’s shoulder, broke the game wide open in the third period. Popelar’s second goal off a turnover roofed top corner, forward Jordanna Peroff’s goal and an unassisted goal from forward Natalie Babony closed the scoring. Netminder Victoria Saunders stopped 21 shots for the shutout.
CMHL Founder and Commissioner remarked about Arashi forward Cass Kobayashi “who is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and doesn’t look like a mother of four children, when you see her play ice hockey.”
Sun head coach Lou Misketis acknowledged the fact “there were many good CMHL female players in the tournament.” He credited Arashi for “stonewalling our team for a long period of time. I told our players to keep the pressure on, be confident and that we would eventually score.” Misketis acknowledged the leadership and playing contributions of Sun co captains Shannon Misketis and Diana Cholakov that led to the team championship. “I coached the Macedonian men’s team for some years before being asked to take over the girls team,|”said Gus Misketis. “I’ve coached girls hockey the past 10-12 years, so I gotten know the skills set of many players that have competed for us, since the beginning of our team’s involvement in the CMHL tourney.”
Cholakov stated the CMHL tournament gives her a chance” to pick up and develop new skills for my regular woman’s hockey league.” Misketis, who also plays in a woman’s hockey league, remarked “it’s nice to play with different players in a tournament. When we get together at the CMHL it’s like family, and pick up where we left off the previous year.” As for the playoff final Cholakov stated the team knew “by posting near the front of the Typhoon net waiting for a shot going through that a goal would come, and it did.”
Heritage Division: To paraphrase author Charles Dickens, it was a tale of two games in the one game playoff final between Russian Kremlins and Filipino Islanders. Despite the shots being 12-12 in the first period it was Kremlins who set the tone with three goals.
Forward Valeri Borschevsky opened the scoring from 18 ft. off the left wing. Right Winger Dima Lavrenov took a pass from center Egor Mironov (who tied with Kremlins forward Mark Borszcz in Heritage Division points with nine each), dashed around the Islanders defence, cut in across near the top of the goal crease and tucked the puck in the lower left corner. Borschevsky’s second goal was set up by centre and team captain Evgeniy Feldman and defenceman Max Zubrik.
Whatever Islanders discussed in the intermission certainly worked on the ice, outshooting Kremlins 18-9 in the second period and tying the game. Defenceman Dakota Domines (who also added an assist) had a wide shot bounce right back to him off the boards to the right side of Kremlins goaltender Evgeny Luchko’s goal crease, for the easy tap in goal. Defenceman Sean Featherstone scored on the power play and forward Adam Ferrer’s goal tied the game. Islanders forward Aaron Broughton added two assists.
After killing off a penalty that started near the end of the second period, Kremlins became more confident and took the game to the Islanders in the third. Lavrenov came down the wing and passed to Forward Yuri Nagaev, who buried the shot to break the tie. Consecutive goals from forward Alexeev (defenceman Dmitry Semenov assisting on both goals) closed the scoring at 6-3 providing Kremlins with consecutive Division titles. Kremlins head coach Lev Soudat acknowledged some line changes were made prior to the third period. “We all talked about playing a little stronger especially in front of our net to help our goaltender.” Assistant Manager Sergei Gudzik said the “coaches spoke to the players about not taking penalties for about 30 seconds about not taking penalties They then left the dressing room, as our captain Evgeniy Feldman spoke to his teammates.”
Gudzik added Luchko “played unbelievable and made big saves when needed it.” He acknowledged the team enjoys playing in the CMHL tourney “because of a love of hockey by everyone in Canada and especially by Russian immigrants. We want to give back to our community and playing hockey and being champion in a tournament like this is great. We thank the CMHL for a great tournament, and we look forward to our kids taking our spots in the roster in the next couple years.”
Feldman acknowledged the message related during the closed door meeting with teammates “was to stick to our game plan, stay out of the penalty box and buckle down to play as a team unit not as individuals.” He credited Luchko, who plays in a weekly league, for “battling hard and played great to give us the best chance for victory, especially after suffering a lower body injury early in our first round robin game.”
Premier Division –Israeli Stars of David’s 6-0 victory over Japanese Arashi was basically decided in the game’s first minute where Arashi was penalized. Stars Captain Adam Weinberg (who also had an assist) took a slick pass from Right Winger Seth Klerer (first of two assists)on this power play, and shot from 14 feet into the open left side of the Arashi net at the 48 second mark. Klerer finished first period scoring right after a power play ended off a rebound shot, as Stars outshot Arashi 18-5. Left Winger Sergei Frenkel (first of two assists) set up Right Winger Jesse Schwartz's goal. Defenceman Sam Gilbert’s goal, set up by Centre Alon Eizenman (first of two assists), concluded second period scoring.
In the third period Left Winger Bryan Weinberg (who also had an assist) and Right Winger Thomas Zubrick’s goals concluded the scoring with Stars netminder Jake DiDimenico stopping 18 shots for the shutout. Thanks to a fan who informed that Arashi’s Forward Tommy Sumi scored a hat trick, in the round robin versus Macedonia Lions.
Stars captain Adam Weinberg acknowledged the team was somewhat surprised to play against Arashi in the final “but we knew we couldn’t take them lightly. We match up quite nicely with their team speed. Our first goal in the game’s first minute definitely put the pressure on Arashi, as they became the underdog right away.” He added not too many “CMHL team have as strong a dominant three lines and four defencemen setup as we had. The hockey gods definitely smiled on us in our last minute semi-final win against Poland Hussars, but there was no let down going into the championship game.”
Stars head coach Alex Voihanski acknowledged “we were the better team and came out flying from the start. It was probably our most complete game at all levels in all my CMHL tournament years. We had great transition and cycling the puck around the boards resulting in our team domination. Our specialty teams on the power play and penalty kill were terrific throughout.” Voihanski also commended Arashi “who are a very classy group of individuals and played a classy game as best possible. With our goaltending and player depth, we knew would not lose to any Division team.”
A trophy was presented on the ice after to the winning team after every Division championship game. Designer jackets were presented to Division MVP players by 2013 CMHL’s main sponsor Hockley Valley Brewing Company (HVBC) located in Orangeville, Ontario. Kathy Stanton and Rob Carrick from HVBC did the presentations, accompanied by Papulkas and CMHL Tournament Coordinator Claire Tsolkas.
Heritage Division MVP – Right Winger Yuri Dyanchenko (five goals and one assist Russian Kremlins; Premier Division MVP – Right Winger Seth Klerer (four goals and six assists) Israeli Stars of David; Culture Cu (Women’s Division) – Defenceman Ashlyn Karapalidis, Macedonian Sun.
After the last trophy and MVP presentation, Tsolkas thanked all teams and on ice officials for the efforts and participation. “Also thanks to Hockley Valley Brewing Company for the MVP jackets and to all our other sponsors. Special thanks to all our fans for their attendance throughout our tournament.”
Thanks to everyone for reading the daily blog reports and/or attending the games. Special notation for first year participating teams Arab Saracens, Greek Ice Maidens and Jamaican Maroons and hoped they enjoyed the overall experience. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the 2014 CMHL Tournament !