Whalen Cup Championship: Tuck @ Gamblers
The Tuckies & Gamblers have been two of the top teams in the UVHL over the past nine seasons. The two powerhouses have split their all-time series with 22 wins each. This season is no different with both teams winning 2 games apiece, but the Turduckens have outscored their opponents 22-11. Although most of that differential came in a 7-0 blowout on January 28th.
The Gamblers have averaged 6.06 goals per game. Tuck has averaged an insane 6.69. The Gamblers have allowed a stingy 3.23 goals per game while Tuck has allowed a ridiculously low 2.69. The Gamblers lead the league with 109 PIMs(6.41 per game) on the season and Tuck is right behind them at 90 PIMs(5.63 per game).
Two very good teams that are #1 & #2 in almost every category
Tuck Wins Marathon Whalen Cup on Gartner Shootout Goal!
It took three periods, a five minute 4 on 4 overtime, a 20 minute 3 on 3 overtime and 18 shootout attempts to finally get a Whalen Cup Winner. An epic game that resulted in the first back-to-back Whalen Cup Champions...Congratulations to the Tuck Hockey Club.
The game spanned over 2 hours and completely sacked the Bronze medal game between the Nordiques & Whalers that was supposed to follow the Championship game. Including the shootout, these two teams amassed 125 shots on goal and 120 saves. Registering a win with 46 saves in regulation and 9 saves on 9 shootout attempts was Tuck's Mike "Wine & Dine" Devine. Devine's team surely owes him at least a beer for his outstanding effort.
The second star of the game was rookie goaltender Zach Lary who turned away 57 shots and 8 of 9 shots in the shootout, but came up just short of the win.
The Third star of the game was Tuck's Josh "GAME TIME" Gartner who sat out both Overtimes before coming into the shootout with fresh legs and roofing the Whalen Cup Game Winner in the 9th round of the shootout.
This was a back and forth battle between two very talented teams. Tuck started the scoring in the first five minutes and the Gamblers tied the game with just under 5 minutes remaining.
The first period had a nice flow to it but generated very few shots as the two teams were feeling each other out. Both teams managed 7 shots on net, but Tuck scored the only goal of the period on their very first shot of the game with 4:33 gone. Jed "Old" McDonald took a pass from Spencer "Ricky" Vaughn on the far boards and made a beautiful soft pass to Eric "The Rat" Rautiola crashing the net. The pass found Rautiola in the slot where he tipped it 5-holio on Lary. The Gamblers almost tied the game with 3:03 left when a Matty "Antelope Legs" Marrazzo rang a backhander off the crossbar, but
END OF THE FIRST: Tuck 1, Gamblers NUTTIN', SAVES: Lary(GMB) 6, Devine(TCK) 7
The second period was a little bit more productive than the first. Two goals were scored and 21 shots were registered. Three penalties made the game a bit more interesting. The Gamblers tied the game at 10:12 when Josh Robinson carried the puck down the near boards and threw a shot, that looked like a change-up, on Devine from about 40 feet away that seemed to catch the goaltender napping. It was a great shot, but one that Devine usually stops. The Gamblers took a pair of penalties late in the second period after Gary "Goontown" Smith took an interference call at 6:17 and Marrazzo made a decision based on desperation to pick the puck up and throw it to prevent a scoring chance for Tuck.
As the first penalty expired Tuck capitalized with a power play goal when John Dawson found Jeffrey "The Wasp" Wannop on the backdoor. Wannops shot was saved by Lary, but the rebound landed on McDonald's stick on the OTHER back door for the easy tip in.
END OF THE SECOND: Tuck 2, Gamblers 1. SAVES: Lary(GMB) 17, Devine(TCK) 15
The third period picked up in intensity and the play started to get a little bit rough. Devine was excellent, making some key saves including a breakaway from the highly talented Topo "Thing 1" LaCroix with 8:12 left. Tuck was sitting back in a defensive posture, hoping to secure the win. Tuck only managed a single shot in the first 10 minutes and their second shot of the period came at 4:57 and immediately was thrown cross-ice by Dan "The Danimal" Ammel off the far boards. That puck jumped the stick of Tuck's defenseman and Topo LaCroix was off to the races. LaCroix went 1 on 1 down the far side, cut across the slot and beat Devine 5-holio to tie the game.
END OF REGULATION: Tuck 2, Gamblers 2. SAVES: Lary(GMB) 24, Devine(TCK) 25
The first overtime was 4 on 4 hockey for five minutes and Tuck owned that battle. They outshot the Gamblers 6-2 but nobody was able to net the game winner and the teams moved on to a Do-Or-Die 20 minute 3 on 3 double overtime. The plan was set, two highly talented offensive teams playing with a ton of room and a goal would be scored, a winner crowned and we would all go home. NOPE. That didn't f'in happen. Apparently, in Men's League Hockey, the old guys aren't built for 3 on 3 hockey. There was a huge miscalculation by the commissioner. The commish didn't figure that both teams were going to shorten their benches and that the goaltenders would be fresh to start the second overtime. Tuck's youth and legs set the tone as they outshot the Gamblers 27-19. It was crazy, back and forth action. Breakaway after breakaway and NOBODY COULD SCORE. The LaCroix twins had a handful of breakaways and scoring chances that Devine shut down. Josh Robinson was turned away with 13:19 left in 2OT. Jed McDonaldwas turned away at 9:41 by Zach Lary. Not to mention that any players that were whistled for a penalty in double OT were ejected from the game and the Gambler's Marc "The Narc" Gattie was sent to the showers for Holding at 11:34 and Tuck's Jeff Wannop packed up his gear at 6:13 for tripping.
Those penalties also meant that Gattie & Wannop would sit out the shootout which was about to happen. 9 rounds, 18 shooters, some great saves, some terrible shots and one glorious moment from the guy riding the pine.
Rnd 1. TCK - Nowak dekes to backhand, NO GOAL - SAVE Lary
Rnd 1. GMB - Marrazzo dekes 5-hole, NO GOAL - SAVE Devine
Rnd 2. TCK - McDonald dekes 5-hole, NO GOAL - SAVE Lary
NOTE: Really guys, 70 minutes of hockey, no ice makes and you think deking is the way to go? Ice is shitty.
Rnd 2. GMB - Ammel snapper(15 feet), NO GOAL - POST
Rnd 3. TCK - Dawson dekes Backhand, NO GOAL - SAVE Lary
Rnd 3. GMB - Topo LaCroix dekes forehand, NO GOAL - SAVE Devine
Rnd 4. TCK - Rautiola dekes Backhand, NO GOAL - SAVE Lary
Rnd 4. GMB - Goose LaCroix Snapper(18 feet), NO GOAL, CROSSBAR - DING!
Rnd 5. TCK - Devooght Shot High & Wide, NO GOAL
Rnd 5. GMB - Robinson loses puck, shoots into the belly. NO GOAL - SAVE Devine
Rnd 6. TCK - Curran dekes Backhand (Whiffs), NO GOAL - SAVE Devine
Rnd 6. GMB - Dodds dekes, loses puck, NO GOAL
Rnd 7. TCK - Mellen dekes, loses puck, NO GOAL
Rnd 7. GMB - Heavisides Dekes, Backhand (off post?), NO GOAL - SAVE Devine
Rnd 8. TCK - White dekes, off post and falls down, NO GOAL
Rnd 8. GMB - Bergeron shoots 5-hole, NO GOAL, SAVE Devine
Rnd 9. TCK - Gartner dekes to backhand and roofs puck, GOOOOOOAAAAAAL
Rnd 9. GMB - Young shoots high, NO GOAL
TUCK WINS, TUCK WINS MARATHON GAME!
Don't forget to vote for the Long Trail Player of the Week! A case of beer is on the line, eh!