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Labatt's Blue 2008 USA Hockey Tournament in Wake Forest North Carolina was a HUGE success

MikeB's picture

This USA Hockey tournament took place at The Factory in Wake Forest, NC.  and turned into a 5 game affair.  I played on my buddy Dave's team (Neighbor Boy) and we only had one hiccup all tournament long.  Too bad it happened in the last period of the championship game.  ARG!

The first game was late Friday night versus the Back Nine guys.  It couldn't have gone better.  We had instant chemistry and played a rock solid game, winning 5 - 0.

Game 2 was Noon on Saturday versus Greensboro's very own B1H2.  We dispensed with them rather handily - again with a solid all around game.  Then it was on to my house to chill between games with a bunch players and their families.  Beer, burgers, hotdogs, beer, chips, quesadillas, soda, beans, did I mention beer?  Nothing like capping all that off with an hour long nap, and then on to Game 3 at 8pm versus the Jokers.  It was a very good game, very even, lots of up and down action with the score 3 - 3 at the end of regulation.  So on to the overtime shootout.  This is where our goalie (Bobby from Wilmington), stood even taller than he had already.  He shut down 2 of their 3 shooters, and our guys notched 2 goals out of 3 shooters - Neighbor Boy's third straight win.  We were rollin'.

Game 4 came early Sunday morning versus the dreaded Vetted Beavers.  Now don't get me wrong, the Beavers have some very good players, it's just if they decide to play with their mean face on, they can be, well, let's just say, not so friendly.  I don't know - maybe they didn't get their beauty sleep or their girlfriends all dumped them the night before, but they woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  They even suited up an enforcer.  A big barrel chested goon that was looking to squish some people.  That was his main task since his skating and stick handling prowess certainly needed a few summer camps.  The guy had to have been 6 feet and 250 lbs.   Well during a typical hockey scrum in the corner, one of our guys took a shove from Goon-man, so he starts mouthin' off, "hey watch it Tubby, eat a carrot Fatso, try pushin' your chair away from the buffet Blimpo."  Well Tubby didn't take to kindly to this - actually it was kinda scary in the fact that it seemed he had an elementary school flashback and went ballistic.  The gloves came off and fists started flying.  Thankfully no one was hurt and better yet.........Tubby got ejected.  SWEET.  One less Beaver to worry about.

We chewed up those beavers 8 - 3 and earned the right to play in the Championship game at Noon.  With just 2 hours between games it was time to load up on bananas and Powerade, okay and a McChicken egg & cheese biscuit - dang that thing was good.  So here we are, Game 5, for all the marbles, versus The Carolina Titans - a very solid tournament tested, tournament savvy team.  Well they didn't disappoint.  It seemed like they were on their game 2 of the tourney and we were on a game 8.  They were so quick and had a lot of "jump" while we were slow, stiff and tired.  It seemed like every little mistake we made they took advantage of it.  If not to score, to at least put a ton of offensive pressure on us and Bobby who was standing on his head in goal!  We quickly found ourselves down 3 - 0.  But we didn't panic, we stayed with it, and by the end of the 1st period we battled back to be down 3 - 2.

 The second period was ours.  Neighbor Boy kept battling all period long, coming out with the score tied 4 - 4 at the end of 2 periods.  You could feel the Titans were stunned, their fans were shocked, and we liked where we were sitting - 1 more period to go and the 2008 Labatt's Blue Tournament would be ours, after all we had the momentum.

 Well, so much for that idea.  The third period began and the Titans were all over us, just like the 1st period.  But this was worse.  We had used up too much energy just to make it 4 - 4.  After 5 minutes we found ourselves down 6 - 4.  It stayed that way for another 5 minutes, with each team getting quality scoring chances and action up and down the ice.  But in the end, we ran out of gas with the final score 8 - 4.

We didn't notch that 5th win but it was a heck of a game versus a quality team.  And it was a heck of a tournament.  Sports can be a great teacher and this tournament reminded me of a lesson learned long ago on the ice during high school:  As long as you can honestly say you tried your best; that you gave it your all; and the same for your entire team; well then, if you come up short you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

That's a lesson I re-learned this weekend.

If you'd like to learn more about Neighbor Boy and Neighbor Boy Hockey there's nothing stopping you -- go to www.neighborboy.com   and since we had a professional photographer at this tournament, (Val Godwin), there will be photos posted very soon on www.valgodwinphotography.com   You really should check them both out....great stuff.

Look out Labatt's 2009!  Neighbor Boy will be ready.....you can count on it.


roadskater's picture

Great Report from the Ice

Wow, MikeB. So you had a busy weekend too! Just when you think you did a lot, someone out there reminds you there are lots of ways of doing a lot! It sounds like you and the other neighborboy teammates had an exhausting and exhilarating weekend of ice skating and puck chasing. Thanks for giving us a report and if you think of more details, feel free to share more about the event, the opponents, the trophies, and more.
eebee's picture

Interesting report!

Thanks for the write up, MikeB! Sounds like a lot of fun and I'm glad you got to play all weekend.
roadskater's picture

Good Point About Playing All Weekend

Yeah, that's right. It's a bummer to make all those plans for a tourney and not make the second day of the tourney. It's always more fun to get two days of brutal exercise out of your investment of time, money and body.

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