Army teams march to gold
The Hockey House Army went into San Jose and marched their way to a pair of gold medals.
The Langley-based roller hockey program sent five teams in various divisions to the prestigious NARCh (North American Roller hockey championships) West Coast Winternationals, which ran at the Silver Creek Sportsplex in San Jose, Calif. from Jan. 18 to 21.
And two of the five took top spot in their divisions, while another pair also found the podium, winning a silver and bronze medal, respectively.
Both the Army’s men’s (18 and over) and squirt (12 and under) teams finished in top spot.
The squirt team proved to be a stingy foe as they recorded four shutouts in their six games, including no goals against in either the semifinals or finals.
They cruised through the round robin with a 4-0 record — they beat their foes by a combined 25-4 — to earn the top seed and a spot in the Gold division playoffs.
After a 2-0 semifinal win, the Army was matched up against the Huntington Beach (HB) Mission Militia 11th Battalion, and controlled the game from start to finish for the 4-0 victory.
Goaltender Braeden Erheardt was named the top goalie for the tournament in the squirt division. Erheardt finished with a save percentage of .902.
For the Army’s men’s team, they were led by most valuable player Tyler Martins, who was also the division’s top scorer.
The squad also boasted a perfect round robin mark of 4-0 — which all came at the expense of California teams — and then defeated the Arizona Flow 4-1 in the semifinals.
That pitted the Army up against a Hawaiian team, the KIHA Warriors, in the finals with the gold medal on the line.
The Warriors tied the score at four with 40 seconds to go, but Martens found himself in all alone on a breakaway with 11 seconds to go, and he made no mistake, using his patented toe-drag move and burying his shot just under the crossbar for the dramatic winning goal.
The Army’s junior (21 and under) squad earned a spot straight in the gold medal game thanks to a 3-0-1 round robin record. But in the final, the team ran into early penalty trouble to fall behind by a couple of goals to the Mission/Bauer Arizona Outcasts, and they could not recover, losing 6-2.
The peewee squad was the second after a 4-0-0 round robin record, which placed them in the Gold bracket of the tournament.
In the semifinals, Dakota Lewis and Kam Loof struck for the Army against Hawaii, but had their gold medal dreams dashed in overtime, falling 3-2, to place third overall.
Defenceman Baylee Wright was named the tournament high scorer for the peewee division with 19points in four games.
The Hockey House also had a team in the mite (10 and under) division, but they did not advance out of the round robin after winning one game.
The Hockey House Army teams were all coached by Kirk French, who has won gold in the past while playing roller hockey for Team Canada. Assistant coaches were Meka Trepanier, Brad Carr, Trevor Townsend and Trevor Sandham.