5:00 PM: Championship victories are the stuff you dream about as a little kid lying in bed looking at posters of your hockey heroes. Today, for a group of five young men, that championship dream came true.
After a gruelling season and even more challenging playoffs, Team Blue emerged victorious at this year’s Sens Development Camp 3-on-3 Tournament.
It was a tense back-and-forth contest between the eventual victors, Team Blue, and the spirited challengers, Team Yellow. While the game seemed dead set for a shootout, a frantic play down low capped off by Justin DaSilva whacking a loose puck past a sprawling Marcus Hogberg gave Blue the game winner they were hoping for with 35 seconds to play.
The 6-foot-6 Ohio State product credited the hard work of his teammates in the victory.
“Hard work. All of us worked hard, got pucks to the net, (Max) McCormick: scoring machine, (Ryan) Dzingel: passing machine, threw it out front front and just driving the net hard,” said DaSilva. “All hard work”
After the game he needed more time to let the rush of a game winning goal pass. He needed some time with his new trophy.
“I'm going to go back and sit in my stall for a little bit and relax -- it's been a long seven days here -- have a little fun.”
Ryan Dzingel reflected fondly on the round robin season that was and basked in the moment. Quite simply, it’s not everyday a championship team like this comes together.
“We're going to go take some time with the family now and rest and get recovered. It was a fun run. They're a hard nosed team and we're just blessed to be here and glad we could get it done,” said Dzingel, who was still unsure of what he’ll do with the Cup on his day. “I haven't really decided yet, maybe I'll have a little breakfast out of it. “
The championship capped off a miracle run for Team Blue who overcame a slow start to their season and fought tooth and nail to get into the playoffs. Their resiliency relegated other strong, highly touted squads like Team Black and Team Red to an early offseason.
Perhaps no moment greater defined their ability to persevere than their game winner as the proverbial buzzer beater was the first puck to beat Hogberg in regulation from the start of the season through to the conclusion of the playoffs.
The win certainly reflects well on the Ohio State University Buckeyes who had three alumni on Team Blue (DaSilva, Dzingel, McCormick) in addition to Canisius College product Cory Conacher and Lethbridge Hurricanes defenceman Macoy Erkamps.
Conacher credited the victory to a timely turnaround in fortunes for Team Blue and strong defensive work on Team Gold star Darren Kramer.
“It was fun. (Darren) Kramer had more than a couple goals today and he was pretty hot. We picked up at the right time and got that final win. “
After overcoming long odds and a very deep talent pool at this year’s tournament, Conacher is looking to celebrating the victory with his hometown in classic championship fashion.
“I plan on getting it next week some time and holding a party in Burlington, Ont.,” said Conacher. “People from Ottawa are welcome to come -- hopefully there will be a little parade going on.”
And with that parade and its young hockey players in attendance that will come a new generation of dreamers who will, one day, hope to hoist the Sens Development Camp 3-on-3 trophy over their heads. Today is a day and a year belonging to Team Blue. Next year is anybody’s game, because it's the Cup.
Until 2014, that’s all folks.
Prospects have been pushed to their limits over the past seven days and today the camp culminates in the annual 3-on-3 tournament and camp awards before exit interviews and planes out of town. They got a little 3-on-3 practice in yesterday so we'll see which team can come together the quickest to win it all.
Here are today's teams:
The tournament is open for all so feel free to swing by the Sensplex and enjoy the games.
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