The most competitive season in the 17 year history of the XHL came to a close Wednesday night, seeing the Colonials clinch their 2nd straight championship with an 8-6 win over the Xtreme. Like most games this season, the Colonial win didn't come easy, but in the end, they used their depth to its advantage. Bob Anderson had 4 goals and 2 assists in tonight's win to win his 2nd straight mvp award. Phil Mace added 2 goals, while John Matchock and Mark Pisarcik each had an important goal along the way. Kevin Smith was held without a goal, but assisted on 4 of the 8 Colonial goals. Like Mark Pisarcik, Tim Herman returned to the league after a 2 year absence and played a big role in the championship series, this time, making 30 saves, including some important 3rd period saves, to help the Colonials hold onto to the win.
At the beginning of the game, it looked like both teams were going to be spending some extra time at the Roller Drome. The Xtreme found themselves up 2-0 four minutes into the game, thanks to goals from Joe Bussard and Tyler Stitt. The Colonials would answer with the next 2 goals midway thru the first period, thanks to Bob Anderson and John Matchock. The wild 1st period continued after goals from Dave Jewell, Phil Mace, Henry Deible and Bob Anderson, all within around 4 minutes of one another. Bob Anderson's 2nd goal of the night came with 8 seconds left in the first period. The 2nd period wasnt quite as wild, but it looked like the Xtreme was going to be in control after seeing goals from Joe Bussard and Brandon Bauer to put them up 6-4. Once again, the Colonials struck late in the period, seeing Phil Mace score a power play goal on a nice pass from Bob Anderson. The Colonials continued its momentum in the 3rd period, with Bob Anderson scoring 2 goals on assists from Kevin Smith to go up 7-6. Bob Anderson was called for a 2 minute penalty in the later stages of the 3rd period, but the Colonials were able to kill off the penalty, and then Mark Pisarcik was able to capitalize on another setup from Kevin Smith to give the Colonials an 8-6 lead with around 3 minutes to go. The 8-6 lead held up to clinch the teams 2nd straight championship, 3rd overall. Xtreme netminder Clint Lingenfelter made his way back to PA after a long expensive trip, making 20 saves on the night. Chad Walter was present at the rink, but did not attempt to play. The Colonials only played one regular season game with a full roster, but had a full roster for all the playoff games and used it to their advantage. About 2 weeks before the season, Bob Anderson was able to talk Kevin Smith into taking up the teams part time player slot. The team was only 4-3 after 7 games, but only lost once, the final game of the regular season, in its last 11 games. While the Xtreme fell short tonight, their main guys, Dave Jewell and Joe Bussard, deserve a lot of credit for assembling a successful team with 2 rookies and a 2nd year guy in Jon Zimmerman. In addition, Chad Walter was only able to play a handful of games at the beginning of the season before getting injured. The team also had to play 2 playoff games without Clint Lingenfelter. In a league that had 6 potential championship teams, going 13 and 1 in the regular season could have been the most impressive run the league has seen. While the league doesn't present a trophy for 2nd place, the Xtreme deserve a lot of credit for the team they put together this season. The greatest season in xhl history wouldn't have happened without them being a part of it.
On a personal note, thanks to everyone for a great season. I certainly hope to see everyone back in the league next season. I would like to thank all the referees for helping out this season, in particular, Dave Glass and Jason Iseler for stepping up to ref the playoff games. The greatest season in xhl history wouldn't have been possible without having a good board, good refs and most of all, each and everyone that participated in the league this season. Thanks to all who were a part of the 2017 season!!
Brian Anderson XHL President