Today was the completion of my Christmas tradition. A day with only one hockey game to attend, the Macs Final. With all due respect for the female division of this tournament, I just can’t bring myself to go watch it. So it was off to the saddledome for 4PM.
FINAL GAME CARIBOO COUGARS 2 REGINA PAT CANADIANS 1
After being spoiled yesterday with some great games, including the Buffs VS. Cariboo, today was a bit of let down. Each team grabbed a goal in the first. Cariboo struck early on a bad turnover down near the goal line, Shipton picked up the puck and when the goalie committed low in tight he went to the top of the net. Later in the period Regina’s Woods drove wide down his left wing, the entire Cariboo team committed to that side of the ice, leaving Sillinger open across the slot and trailing. A quick one time release and the puck was in. From there no goals were scored and chances were few and far between. The Regina team was content to clog up the middle of the ice and Cariboo failed to make an adjustment that would provide them with more opportunity. As the game went on Regina had the decided possession time advantage. Sadly it seemed the team that had been less than sportsmanlike throughout the tournament was destined to take the game. Regina seemed to be on a course for their Macs championship. However Cariboo’s goalie had no intention of making it easy. Griffen Outhouse was a difference maker with a number of fantastic saves. He prolonged the game in the first overtime by making a number of key saves while his team killed a penalty. Those saves allowed his team to get to the second overtime, where a Dubois won a race to a puck off the end boards and from just above the goal line fired a seeing eye shot that caught the post, and bounced in, setting off a huge Cougar celebration.
Aside from the male Champions, local Calgary Fire were upset by the Saskatoon Stars in the female final. Congrats to them.
Matthew Phillips pretty much cleaned up at the awards show, and rightfully so, he was amazing. For me he enters a special list of players who performed at this tournament. A list of guys who were noteworthy over many years not just the year they were in town. The list includes Zach Parise at the top, the best individual Macs performer. Other great performances came from Scott Gomez and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Add Matthew Phillips to that short and illustrious list. A player who made something special happen each and every time he was on the ice, made for a great show.
Also a huge congratulations to the tournaments top coach. It seems fitting that it went to a local coach and the guy who put together the best team to watch at this tournament. The top games were provided by this team. Even when they blew another team out they were fun games to watch. It is the sign of a well coached team that the parts seem almost interchangeable, players mix and match well. Players consistently were calm and focused, the execution of his team head and shoulders above many others. So congrats to Adam Redmond on the honour of being named the tournaments top coach, as a nice side note, knowing his wife and watching her there to support him with their wonderful daughter made it an awesome moment for a good family. Glad to see Mr. Redmond get rewarded for giving us such a great team to watch. Best of luck to him in the back half of his regular season, maybe a trip to a national championship is on his radar.