Colonials bring home 4th xhl championship
The XHL Concluded its 20th season last night. This season may have been the most unique considering that it was not held during its traditional summer months, but it may have been one of the most enjoyable. If Joe Bussard could have been present for Slap Happy, we may have seen the league’s best ever championship series considering how both regular season games turned out between the Colonials and Slap Happy. The Colonials have been around since the league started 20 years ago, so maybe it was fitting they clinched their 4th championship in the league’s 20th year of existence. Dan Fatula has been a part of a lot of good teams, but believe it or not, last night was his first championship. Can the xhl keep going into the unforeseeable future? A lot of the leagues premier players are now aging. There is some youth, but is there enough to keep it going? Only time will tell.
Slap Happy were left with a tall task last night after not having a full team, including perhaps its most important player in Joe Bussard. Only having one sub versus 3 subs for the Colonials probably made the difference in that 2nd game last night. The Colonials got off to a quick start in game 1 and never looked back. Game 2 was more of what we expected. Each team scored 4 times in the first period. The Colonials only found themselves up by a goal with about 6 minutes to go but two quick goals gave them enough comfort to hold on, even when Kevin Smith accidentally scored on his own goalie later in the 3rd period. Despite the accidental goal, the Colonials were able to hold on for the 9-7 game 2 victory. The first game was 9-2. Rooster scored 3 goals to lead the way for the Colonials in the 2nd game.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in the league this season. While it was disappointing to only have 6 teams, and to be missing an important player for the championship games, it was still a lot of fun. Hopefully everyone who participated this season will be back for the next xhl season. See below for interviews with some of the Colonials:
1. Another championship on your resume. How does this one compare to some of the other ones you have been a part of? They are all unique. I enjoy playing with everyone on my teams. This one was fun cause we had a good group of guys that like to win but don’t go overboard when things go south. I had fun this past season. A lot of fun.
2. Even without Joe, did you expect to blow them out in game 1? You never expect to blow them out when they have Adam in goal. He kept them in it for awhile. I think we just played great defense that game. Only giving up 2 goals was pretty good.
3. The 2nd game could have gone either way. What did you think made the difference for the team? I think having 3 subs compared to their 1 played a big difference.
4. When you first looked at the teams roster, what were your expectations for the season? I thought we could make some noise. We had some unselfish players. We played as a team. As for Slap Happy, any team with Adam on it will be tough. Throw in Dave, Derik, Steve, and Joe you have a heck of a team. Sad Joe couldn’t make it last night. He is a BIG piece of their team.
5. Maybe the most important question --------- Did you keep your speed under 80 going to and from the rink last night? Lol. Had no choice. Took an hour and half as opposed to 50 minutes. Dam snow but it was worth it. I’ll get my day with the cup someday.
1. Another championship on your resume. How does this one compare to some of the other ones that you won? It feels good to win again, with that being said this was a really fun group of guys to play with. However I don’t think any championship will compare to the first one! There is just something a little more special about that one!
2. They were without Joe last night, but were you still surprised to win by 7 goals in that first game? Yeah it was unfortunate that Joe wasn’t there, he is a game changer for sure. I was shocked to cruise to the victory in that first game. Even without Joe they have a good roster, and one of the best goalies to ever play in the XHL so winning like that was a surprise.
3. The 2nd game could have gone either way. What did you think made the difference for the team? The second game was closer for sure, really the difference in my opinion was we played on our heels more, they were attacking and took some good shots and scored on them. They never quit and I was happy for that because the second game was more fun than the first! Even if I scored on Herman!! Shhhh!
4. When you first looked at the teams roster, what were your expectations for the season? Well to be honest, I really didn’t think we would win the championship. There were a couple other rosters that I thought were better on paper than ours. However this team seemed to have chemistry from the first game, it got better each game and we all just played really well together.
5. Xhl has been going for 20 years now. Do you think a small community like this can keep organized hockey going into the unforeseeable future? t’s crazy that the league has lasted this long. There is no way this league will still be here without The Anderson brothers. You both have put so much time and effort to make sure this thing keeps going. With that said, honestly I don’t think it will be able to survive another 20 years. I don’t know if there are enough younger guys around to keep it going.
1. Another championship on your resume. How does this one compare to the ones you got with the Renegades? All of them have been great obviously. But I do feel that with this team I was able to contribute a lot more towards our success which was really nice. The renegade teams were so stacked with mike and pat, I didn’t really do much but try to get outta there way.
2. They were without Joe last night, but were you still surprised to win by 7 goals in that first game? I was. We really jumped on them quickly in that first game and with already being without joe, I think that got to their heads fast.
3. The 2nd game could have gone either way. What did you think made the difference for the team? Herm found a way to shake off the first period and was solid the rest of the game, outside of the snipe that Kevin pulled on him.
4. When you first looked at the teams roster, what were your expectations for the season? Anytime ya play with bob, you think you have a shot at winning it all. But I also think this team was really well constructed from top to bottom.
5. That xhl trophy seems to be following you around since you started playing xhl. Whats it been like playing in xhl aside from the trophy that keeps following you around? Iv been really fortunate to have played on the teams I have and with the guys I have. I mean Iv been carried by the Indiana guys my first few seasons, and now got to join two of the best in the league in bob and Kevin. Iv been very fortunate, the winning isn’t a result of me. But this season was much more enjoyable than in the past. Bob Anderson
1. Another championship on your resume. How does this one compare to some of the other ones that you won?
It's always nice to be posing with the cup at the end of the season. I've won 3 in 20 years of playing so they are few and far between. I would say this team was one of the most enjoyable I've been a part of in any league I've played in. Sometimes you can have a great collection of talent that doesn't seem to mesh well. But this group had a chemistry that translated well on the court. Everyone played their role very well and there were no egos. I hardly scored on this team. I didn't have to.
2. They were without Joe last night, but were you still surprised to win by 7 goals in that first game? A little yes. I kept expecting them to make it a tight game. They must have been saving their legs for the second game, because they made that one stressful for us. That said, any time you take Joe out of a lineup, you know that's going to hurt a lot. He is someone that commands double teams at times. That opens things up for Derik to fly around and Dave to fire slappers. We were able to key on them a lot more knowing that Joe wasn't in the game. 3. The 2nd game could have gone either way. What did you think made the difference for the team? They definitely put up a valiant effort in the second game. We were a bit sloppy defensively in the second game. We had quite a few odd man rushes against us. I think we probably were pushing the offense too much instead of trying to capitalize on mistakes. That said, I think our depth really helped us in that second game. Having guys like Rooster, Dan, and Brian who can score really took the pressure off Kevin to have to do it himself. Shout out to Rooster by the way - he was a beast last night! I think there's a reason why he's been on so many championship teams lately. 4. When you first looked at the teams roster, what were your expectations for the season? I think a lot of teams had their rosters in order months ago. We didn't really finalize things until the season was ready to begin. For example, Rooster and Kevin were both late additions. I wasn't even thinking about asking Kevin. I just assumed he was too busy. But Brian reached out and he surprised me by wanting to play. Anyway, I knew we had a lot of talent. You just never know for sure if the chemistry will work out the way you want it to. What made this season fun was that the teams were pretty evenly matched. The Mobb looked very strong on paper, and Zach Smith's addition to the Mayhem made them tough. The Narwhals started slow but really came on strong late in the season. We knew all of them would be challenges in the playoffs. But I would be lying if I didn't say that the Slap Happy looked like the team to beat. After splitting with them in the regular season, I figured there was a good chance we would see them again in the finals. It's just a shame that Joe wasn't able to play. I really think it could have gone three games with very close scores in all of them. 5. You first put this league together 20 years ago. Do you think a small community like this can keep hockey going into the unforeseeable future? I was reflecting on this a bit with Fred after the game last night. Only three players have played every XHL season since we began over 20 years ago: me, Fred, and Adam. We are still going. I'll be hitting the 40 mark this year. Adam already has and Fred will be pushing 50 soon. It's great to see hockey still going strong in the area, and I'm not taking credit for this, but I don't think we would see this level of interest in the community had the XHL not been formed two decades ago. I just hope that there is interest from the younger generation to keep it going another 20 years into the future. Thanks to everyone for playing this season and to Brian for organizing! I'm looking forward to a fun winter league season coming up!