CCM Exhibition Tournament 2008
written by Paul Robertson
The TSHA’s ambitious plan to chop our already thin numbers into two teams, assuming that each would be strong enough to be worthy competitors at the Emperor’s Day (2008/12/23) CCM Exhibition Tournament in Kitasenjyu, proved to be hopelessly optimistic. While we had a great time to a man, neither of the resulting undermanned (not to mention over-aged) teams, the TSHA (in white) or the JSBHF (in red), was able to make it into the final against some stiff local competition provided by the Misconduct Hockey League. The superior speed (not to mention youth) of the two MHL inspired teams (Tigers and Giants) proved too much for the one line TSHA/JSBHF “teams” and the MHL teams both ended up in the final fighting it out for the tournament victory. In the end it was the MHL Tigers (yellow) that overcame the MHL Giants (black) to claim the spoils.
The first game of the day long CCM Exhibition Tournament was the MHL Tigers vs. the five man JSBHF. It was a close game but the JSBHF while playing solid defense just couldn’t generate the offence needed to seriously pressure the Tigers. The final score was Tigers 1 and JSBHF 0. It was a scenario that would repeat throughout the day.
The second game saw other MHL team, the Giants (black) taking on the TSHA (white). It was a see-saw game that ended 3 to 2 with the home Giants scoring in the final minutes. Again, a one goal difference earned in the last minute, that would repeat for the TSHA.
For some reason these first two games proved to be the hardest run in TSHA history with all four teams sucking wind like jet engines and ending with everybody coughing like a bronchitis ward after the games. Colin was perhaps the worst affected, losing his lunch into the penalty box area but all the players were various shades of green.
We decided the next two games would be played our “normal” flat out pace, as opposed to running all over the place at full speed all the time. The new strategy seemed to work better with more passing, ball possession and control in the offensive zone. Unfortunately we also decided to “goon it up” for some reason with both TSHA/JSBHF teams getting penalties (Dave, Paul, Christian all finding their way to the box) and losing the games by familiar score lines on power plays in the final minute. The JSBHF (red) went down 1 to 0 to the MHL Giants (black) yet again and the shorthanded TSHA lost to the Tigers (yellow) again in the final few seconds this time by a score of 2 to 1. Chad again provided the offense for the TSHA.
The semifinals saw the young MHL teams pick up the pace yet another notch against the few old men of the “one-line” TSHA teams. The MHL Giants (black) finally broke down the tough defense of the JSBHF and scored two goals for a new final scoreline of 2 to O. Unfortunately the JSBHF still couldn’t get a goal. The MHL Tigers came blasting out of the gate for their semi-final against the TSHA scoring early and often and never looking back on the way to a 5 to 0 win to book a place in the final against the Giants (black).
This set-up a up an all MHL final with the TSHA/JSBHF players watching. And to be fair it was a great game to watch with the Tigers (yellow) opening strong and the Giants black) clawing it back to a one goal game in the finals minute. The Tigers (yellow) did however prevail for a much deserved 2 to 1 win to claim the overall tournament victory.
Some of the TSHA/JSBHF boys then headed to an Ueno izakaya to drown their sorrows. There was much of the talk was about how we would need more players to be competitive (two lines would be good) and even then we would need to get into better shape either way. There were plenty of assurances to one another that the new year would see a renewed focus on diet and physical fitness that was completely contradicted by a bunch of truly appalling menu choices of fried meat and carbs drowned with beer...
Only time will tell if the new year will provide us with the commitment to round up the requisite number of players and appropriate level of physical fitness that will be required to win the inevitable next CCM Exhibition Tournament.