Fall League Concludes
Team McKinley 8 Team Dodd 7 (OT)
Team Dodd 7 Team McKinley 6 (McKinley eliminated)
As good as guys like Bob Anderson, Cory Schuckers, Eric Llewellyn, Adam McKinley and Alex Waddell were last night, the most valuable players were Zach Smith and Tyler Waltman for making a special trip to the rink to ref two hard fought games last night. We would like to thank them for making last nights games even possible. For a while, it looked like everyone’s night was going to be an hour or so shorter, but Team McKinley rallied for 3 goals in the 3rd period to send the game to overtime. 4 minutes into overtime, Joe Roush found a way to get a shot past John Matchock (Filling in for an injured Tony Dodd) to send us to an all or nothing 2nd game last night. Bob Anderson and company led 7 to 4 with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd period but Alex Waddell helped team McKinley rally when he unexpectedly scored from the side of the net to make it 7-5. Soon afterwards, he scored again to make it 7-6 before Eric Llewellyn scored as time ran out in regulation of the first game to send it into overtime. Both teams came out flying as the game started. Zach Foradori scored a couple goals early in the game for Team McKinley. Trent Bembenic scored the first goal for Anderson and company. Cory Schuckers led the way offensively in the first game. It looked like it was over when Bob Anderson stretched a 6-4 lead going into the 3rd period to 7-4 halfway thru the 3rd period. The teams combined for 7 goals in the 1st period.
A 2nd game was needed last night as the teams met for a 3rd time in 2 weeks. Overall, team McKinley ended up playing 6 games in the playoffs but fell one goal short in the 2nd game last night. Cory Schuckers scored the first goal of the deciding game last night. From there, Bob Anderson took over by scoring the teams final 6 goals. He was looking for one more goal in the 3rd period to add some insurance, but Adam Mckinley kept denying him. McKinley denied some good overtime opportunities in the first game as well. Anderson and company led most of the way in this game but it seemed like Team McKinley kept climbing back. They didn’t score their first goal until the early part of the 2nd period when Zach Foradori got one by John Matchock. He would add another big goal in the 3rd period to get his team to within a goal at 7-6, but unlike the first game, they were unable to score the tying goal. Anderson and company led the whole way and went up by 3 goals on several occasions, but Team McKinley kept answering. Team McKinley was led offensively by Eric Llewellyn, Alex Waddell and Zach Foradori. Both teams started 0 and 2 on the season. Anderson and company were 0 and 3 before finishing 3 and 5 in the regular season and 4 and 1 in the playoffs. Having Cory Schuckers available made a big difference along with having guys like John Matchock willing to fill the net when needed. Tony Dodd was injured the 2nd to last week of the regular season.
We would like to thank everyone for participating in the fall league and cant thank Zach Smith and Tyler Waltman enough for stepping in to ref last night. Joe Roush, Bob Anderson and Jake Kline were also a big help all season long when it came to reffing games. Henry Sutter was a big help filling in at goalie. At one point, we were down to 3 goalies until John Matchock started coming more. He got to play 5 games in the last 2 weeks making up for some of the games he couldn’t make in the regular season.
As good as last nights games were, both teams should have been included on that championship facebook picture. Congratulations to both teams for providing some exciting hockey last night. We look forward to XHL Season starting January 9th. For anyone wanting a tune up beforehand, don’t forget about the tournament on December 29th.
Zach Foradori (Team McKinley)
1. 2 games last night. Hows your body feeling today? Not feeling great honestly. My back has really been bothering me.
2. You guys got down by 3 in the 3rd period. Were you afraid the game could get away from you guys at that point? Absolutely, when you’re down by 3 in a do or die game you have to take chances.
3. Both games last night were closer than the game last week. What adjustments did you try to make going into last nights games? We were just able to take our chances while still be relatively sound on the back end. Eliminate bob dishing passes backdoor and a high volume of shots.
4. Despite falling a little bit short, what was it like playing on this team in this league? I enjoyed it for the most part. A lot of those guys are easy to get along with.
5. What kind of expectations do you have for the eagles this upcoming season? No idea honestly, but normally teams that are put together by Jerred, Llew and Larry are pretty solid. Brian Anderson (Team Dodd)
Brian Anderson (Team Dodd)
1. Another season is in the books. If you had to pick 3 players who stood out to you during the entire course of the season, who would you pick and why? That’s a tough one. There are more than 3. Kevin Smith really stood out during the regular season. It was disappointing that he could only make one playoff game (in which they lost). He played some of his best hockey in the regular season. Brice Miller really impressed me as well. I always knew he had potential but he brought it to another level in this fall league. Cory would be another one. We struggled without him during the regular season (he missed about half the games). His presence put us over the top when he was there.
2. This championship featured the #3 seed against the #5 seed. Did you feel like there was a team to beat this season? Anything can happen in draft leagues and with the way some of the goalies got moved around, there was really no clear favorite in the playoffs. I was really surprised Clint’s team lost twice to Matchock’s team. When they lost for the 2nd time, I felt like the rest of the bracket was wide open at that point.
3. Was it more satisfying to win this league considering the struggles you guys had during the regular season? For sure. I knew we had the potential but our lineup changed a lot during the season. That first playoff game against team Sutter set the tone for us. It was ashame they didn’t have Kevin that night because he was such a stand out player during the regular season. When we were 0 and 3 and 1 and 4, I kept saying that my main goal at that point was to get some good exercise.
4. Your teams played 6 and a half periods last night. In the end, both teams scored 15 goals. It seems like this was a very even match-up. What do you think was the difference that got you guys over the hump? We may have had just a little bit more star power than they did and that showed in the 2nd game when Bob scored 6 goals. McKinley’s team played great and have nothing to be ashamed of. Us having a player who could take a game over when needed was why we escaped with the win. I was really impressed with how they responded to some two or three goal deficits last night. I am just glad the clock reached double 0 in that 2nd game.
5. The XHL is coming up soon. What are you most looking forward to with that season? We have never had XHL in the winter so I am kind of looking forward to seeing how that goes. I feel like there is a good balance at the top of the league and will be anxious to see how games turn out when those teams play one another. I am excited to see some guys like Brandon, Cody and Joe Bussard playing on a more regular basis again. Same with Dave Jewell and Derik. Every team has some good talent which should make most of the games competitive.
Alex Waddell (Team McKinley)
1. 2 games last night. Hows your body feeling today? Surprisingly pretty good today but I’m sure the sore muscles will set in tomorrow.
2. You are a big reason why 2 games had to be played last night. Are you kicking yourself for scoring all those goals in that first game last night? I joked a lot about not wanting to play 2 games but I though both were fun. I blame Llew for stopping that empty netter and saving the first game.
3. Both games last night were closer than the game last week. What adjustments did you try to make going into last nights games? We still had a lot of bad plays last night but we played our game at times and stuck to it even when we were down. If we could have done that a little sooner in the second game we might have been able to pull it off.
4. Despite falling a little bit short, what was it like playing on this team in this league? At the beginning of the season I never would have guessed we would have made it as far as we did. We started playing well at the right time. I’m glad we were able to pick up Zach after the draft I think he will be a great addition to the eagles team.
5. What kind of expectations do you have for the eagles this upcoming season? I think we have a pretty good team but there are a lot or really good looking teams on paper. It should be an interesting season.
Eric Llewellyn (Team McKinley)
1. Two games last night. Hows your body feeling today? Fine. Wish we played tonight
2. You tied the game at the end of regulation last night. What was your gut telling you going into overtime? That we would win game 1 then have to play 2 games then lose.
3. You guys had no answer for Bob in the 2nd game. Did you try making any adjustments on him as the game went on? Didnt look like it. Just let him take over against tired skaters.
4. Adam is usually the enemy. What was it like to be on his team for a change and were you surprised this team made it as far as you did? Yeah it was nice having him on my side for once. Im not surprised we made it that far. Its usually Adam vs Bob.
5. You guys played 6 playoff games. Do you like the double elimination tournament better or do you like the traditional best of 3 series’s? It seemed to last longer this way. Im always in favor of whatever gets us the most games.
Bob Anderson (Team Dodd)
1. 2 games last night. What can you say about the overall team effort in each game?
Hockey is the ultimate team game. Somestimes the most talented group can struggle if they can't play together effectively. We were fortunate to have a group that played hard and played their roles very effectively. It was a great mix. Nobody played a selfish game and everybody was responsible. We had solid defense in Cory and Fred, scoring depth with Brian, and great hustle from Trenton all the time (he may be the most underrated backchecker in the league). Matchock always gives it his all no matter what position he plays. I'd gladly take this same team into any league if I had the chance again.
2. You guys were up by 3 goals in the 3rd period of game 1 last night. What do you think went wrong at the end of that first game? First off, you've got to give the red team a lot of credit for not giving up. After we scored to make it 7-4 half way through the third period of that game, I felt like we had a pretty comfortable lead. I wouldn't say we let up, but we didn't play with the urgency we needed to close that game out. I believe it was Zach Foradori that found a way to sneak a goal in from a weird angle and that changed the momentum. Before you know it, they scored again, and then Llewellyn scored one of the craziest goals you will see in Reynoldsville. I believe he made the play to stop Trenton from scoring on the empty net at the other end, then took it the length of the court and buried the tying goal with about 10 seconds to go. It's a goal that probably all of us there will remember for a long time. Thank goodness we didn't lose the second game or else I'd have nightmares about it haha. 3. They almost came back in the 2nd game as well. How relieved were you to see that clock hit double 0 in that 2nd game? Yeah that was definitely a relief. I think we found ourselves in the same exact scenario with about the same amount of time left; up 3 with about a half period to go. Once again, team red battled back. Zach scored another ridiculous goal when he backhanded one into the top corner of our net to get the score within one. I think there was still 2 minutes left for them to tie it up so that was pretty stressful. Matchock came up big and we were able to avoid overtime this time. It was great to win, but a shame to see red lose. They really played hard! 4. You had to do most of the work in that 2nd game as other guys weren’t able to contribute as much offensively. Were you getting worried at all as the game went on? The good thing about this team was that we had multiple sources of offense. There were plenty of games this year where other people stepped up and scored big goals. I think Cory must have scored about 4 of them in the first game. After last week, team red did a much better job of shutting down our 2 on 1's in these two games. When we did get one, Adam made most of the saves. So when all else fails, we just had to shoot. Luckily, one more of ours went in than theirs. There's lots of ways to contribute to a team victory. Fred proves this time-and-time again. In the end, it doesn't really matter to me if I score several times or don't score at all, so long as we get the win. 5. The team struggled until the playoffs. How do you think things were able to come together once the playoffs began? We entered the playoffs as the number 5 seed out of 6 teams. We had our share of struggles during the regular season. We had quite a few times where we didn't have all of our players there and had to pick up guys to compensate. While we were able to pull some comparable talent, chemistry can be an issue. It takes time to learn where everyone is going to be and to establish a playing style that leads to wins. Having a consistent lineup these past few weeks was a big advantage for us in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Tony got hurt filling in for another team during the season. We wish him a speedy recovery!