ADDISON, IL – JANUARY 16, 2000
The Quad City Ice Eagle Bantam travel team just missed winning their second tournament of the season when they dropped the final game of the Chicago Extravaganza tournament to the Indianapolis Racers by a score of 4-0. The Eagles had qualified for the championship game earlier in the day by beating Indianapolis 4-2. Stories on all four tournament games follow.
Playing in the Bantam A bracket, the Eagles’ first test came against a team from Novi, Michigan at 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Ryne Takacs opened the scoring for Q-C when he circled around from the left of the net before firing a high shot from the slot that beat the Novi goalie high to the glove side. The Eagles had the best of the play during the first period, but Novi turned up the heat in the second period, managing to tie the game midway through the second. Early in the third, Takacs outfought two Novi players for control of the puck in the offensive zone, and then beat the goalie for a shorthanded goal to make the score 2-1. Novi continued to keep the pressure on, bottling up the Eagles in their own zone, until Justin Welsh broke out and scored on a nifty backhander to increase the lead to 3-1. Despite being outshot 21-12, and generally outplayed during the last two periods, the Eagles hung on, thanks in large measure to the outstanding work in goal by Brandon Morgan, and came away with the 3-1 win.
The second game of the tournament was played Saturday afternoon against a team from North York, Ontario, and featured some of the best play of the weekend. North York took the lead late in the first period, when they scored after a pass from behind the Eagles’ net. The Eagles had been caught in a bad line change, and Goalie Brandon Kruse didn’t have much of a chance. The rest of the game featured tight checking and strong goaltending. Eagle Center Josh Moon hit the post once in the second period, and then late in the third unloaded another blast from just inside the blue line, that again hit the post. The North York goalie admitted after the game that Moon’s shot may have banged off the back of the net, not the post. So despite playing one of their best defensive games of the year, the Eagles were beaten 1-0, setting up a must-win situation on Sunday against the Racers from Indianapolis.
On Sunday morning, the Eagles knew they had to win the game against Indianapolis if they wanted a chance at the championship, and they came out determined to do just that. The Eagles took immediate command of the game, scoring three times on their first four shots to take a big lead. Three minutes in, Justin Welsh, on an almost identical play to his goal Friday, broke in on the right wing, swept in front of the net and beat the Indy goalie with a backhander. Minutes later, Josh Moon found Austin Busch behind the defense in the neutral zone, and Busch went in alone and threw it up high over the goalie’s shoulder for a 2-0 lead. A short time later, during an Eagle power play, John Carr got control of the puck just to the goalie’s right and waited for the goalie to go down before lifting the puck high into the net for a 3-0 lead. Although the goalie was not at fault on any of the Eagle goals, he was pulled after Carr’s power play score.
The Eagles maintained the 3-0 lead until midway in the third when a defensive breakdown led to a three-on-none breakaway, and Indy finally beat Goalie Brandon Morgan for their first goal of the game. With Indy putting on a lot of pressure, the Eagles responded when Busch scored his second of the game on a slap shot from the left point with about 4 minutes left. When Indy scored their second goal with 1:30 to go, it meant nothing to the Eagles, but everything to Indianapolis. In the complicated tie-breaker guidelines, Indy’s second goal gave them the advantage over North York, which meant the Eagles would have to play Indy again for the championship.
In the championship game, the Eagles looked a little tired as the two teams battled through a scoreless first period. The turning point of the game came midway through the second when John Carr’s shot just missed the open corner, and Indianapolis broke back and scored on a rebound to take a 1-0 lead. Indy scored a second goal late in the second and took a commanding two-goal lead. They wrapped up the championship adding two empty net goals in the last minute to make the final score 4-0.
· Tournament directors did a great job of bracketing the teams in the Bantam A
Division, as each game was close and evenly matched
· The officiating throughout the tournament was excellent.
· The seemingly unimportant goal given up at the end of the first game against Indianapolis proved to be very costly, since it allowed them to play in the final. Coach Moon felt his team might have benefited by having a chance to avenge their earlier defeat to North York.
· The Indianapolis goalie, which allowed the Eagles only 1 goal in 5+ periods was named the championship game MVP.
The Eagles return to action Sunday with two games at home against Peoria.