For the second time this season, the 95 Giants 09 Elite Team reached the finals of an in-season hockey tournament. This time the team came out on top and won the Championship Trophies at the Ocean State Classic. The parents cheered and the kids smiled and hugged as their names were announced.
The tournament kicked off on Friday with a 2-0 win over the Boston Jr Terriers Tier 1. Saturday they had a double header and an early start against the PHC Tier 1 North Black team. They fought hard throughout the game, but unfortunately came up a little short with a 2-1 loss. They came back that afternoon looking for redemption from the morning game. The Giants took on PHC Tier 1 South Black. It was another hard fought battle but they came up short again, losing 5-2.
Sunday the 95 Giants 09 Team arrived at the rink looking to keep the hopes of playoff tournament hockey alive against the RI Jr Blues AAA team. The Giants team put on quite the show with a dominant 8-3 win. The team spent the afternoon watching the tournament for the scores to be posted in hopes of earning a playoff spot. The 95 Giants team learned they were in the semi-finals around 3pm. The excitement was contagious and by making the semi-final round, it setup a rematch against the PHC North team.
The whole team was amped up for their 9am game against the PHC North Tier 1 Black team. The game started off a little slow for the Giants as PHC Jumped out to a 2-1 lead though the 1st period. Coach Rob rallied the troops but to no avail and the Giants were still losing headed into the 3rd period. During the final 12 minutes of the game, the physical play of the Giants began to prevail and slowly the lead held by PHC was chipped away, 1st by J. Daley to make it a 3-2 game. Then after a PHC penalty with a minute and half remaining in the game, a strategic time out was called by Coach Rob to bring the team together and setup one final chance for the tie. With no goalie in net and the extra skater on the ice, the faceoff was in the Giants offensive zone. The faceoff was won and the puck cycled around through the Giants players in the zone looking for a shot opportunity. The pass was made and the shot was taken by LaBelle and it went in to tie the game up at 3 each. After fending off one final attack by PHC, the game was headed to overtime. In overtime, it was much of the same with the Giants taking control of the game, getting the puck into their offensive zone and the game winner was setup via great pass from LaBelle to Avila for the game winning goal in OT. The Giants were headed to the Finals of a tournament for the 2nd time this season.
After a nice relaxing lunch for the team, it was right back at it for one final game of the tournament against the North Jersey Avalanche, a team that the Giants have never faced.
The finals started off with a great showing by both teams with the 1st period ending in a 0-0 tie. Headed into the 2nd period both teams were looking for the advantage and the Giants were able to strike first with a goal by Avila to take the 1-0 lead, however about a minute later the North Jersey Avalanche were able to tie the game. After some really good back and forth hockey, Barrett was able to get a shot off from the point which snuck past the NJ Avalanche goalie to take a 2-1 lead headed into the 3rd period. Shortly after the Avalanche were able to tie the game up at 2 a piece. Looking like the game was headed to overtime again, the Giants had other plans. A play that started in the Giants defensive zone where the Giants were able to break out of the zone, with a couple of passes and a shot by J Daley, just like that the Giants took the lead back with a minute left in the game and never looked back. Followed up with an empty netter also scored by Daley the Giants took a 4-2 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
As the parents went crazy in the stands and the players jumped up and down counting the seconds down to zero, the Giants won the tournament.
The 95 Giants 09 Elite team took the ice for their third and final tournament of the season, with the hopes of getting one last tune up headed into the playoffs but instead came out on top and won the 2020 Ocean State Classic. This was a great weekend of hockey, the team played great and stood up to the challenge that was presented to them.
Congratulations to the 2020 Ocean State Classic Squirt AAA division Champs 95 Giants 09 Elite Team.