Nothing sweeter than a home-ice win
Teams winning provincial tournaments all look the same.
The goaltender dog pile as the buzzer sounds more like a championship call than a shrill eardrum buzzsaw, and there are hollers between teammates, hugs and celebratory high-fives.
You can’t forget the duck-oryou’ll-get-drilled-in-the-head practice of throwing every piece of equipment a player has into the air and hoping it doesn’t land on someone.
There’s the hoisting of the trophy and the team picture with the provincial banner — all of it a cookie cutter response to reaching the pinnacle of your sport for the year.
They’re all the same, save for one exception. When a team wins it all on home ice, the feeling gets a little bit different.
It tastes sweeter and the celebration is a little more intense.
Just ask the Bay Arena midget B Rovers. Last week, they hosted the midget I division provincial tourney featuring teams from Labrador West, Goulds, Sheshatshiu and Placentia.
Faced with a tough Sheshatshiu team in the championship game, the Rovers needed double overtime to settle things.
After trading chances in the opening moments of the fifth period, Bay Arena forward Tye Reyna-Clarke morphed a turnover into the golden goal for the Rovers. Picking up a loose puck just above the far circle, the diminutive centreman lofted a shot at the Sheshatshiu goal.
It found its way into the back of the net and the Rovers won 21. The Bay Arena exploded as players swarmed the overtime hero and each other.
Rink attendants banged on the glass near the ice resurfacer entrance and parents put the hammer down on horns, cowbells and other noisemakers. It was hysteria at its finest.
“I got the puck and I was thinking shoot,” said ReynaClarke. “I watched the puck leave my stick and hit the back of the net. I couldn’t believe it. I turned around and I just got tackled by the team.”
At that moment, any nerves that were felt from playing at home washed away.
“It’s a different feeling at home,” said Reyna-Clarke. “It’s my first banner and I wanted to win it in front of everybody.”
That everybody being family and friends, of course.
The victory meant a little more to Rovers captain Darcy O’Reilly. He felt the nerves at home and wanted to put on a good show for the local fans.
He also wanted to get over the championship hump. Last year, O’Reilly’s midget B team fell short in the championship game.
His teammate from then, Lucas Percey, was a coach now.
“Last year we lost in the championship 2-1 and it felt like a bit of redemption because Percey is here and he played last year,” said O’Reilly.
Winning on home ice is something else. There really is no way to describe the feeling according to players.
“It was unbelievable to win it here,” said O’Reilly. “We were all going off the head.”
It was unbelievable to win it here. We were all going off the head. Darcy O’Reilly
Bay Arena midget B Rovers captain Darcy O’Reilly and his teammates celebrated a provincial banner on home ice last week.