The Average Joes and the Rookies, two teams that battled their way to the final game and showed they were the best in the league, collided at last and fought fiercely for the UTM intramural ball hockey championship title on March 13.
Before the game, Average Joes captain Alex Santini shared his thoughts, “We lost earlier this season to them, so we have a rivalry built up. Just hard work and we can get the job done today.”
The Rookies, a team consisting entirely of RAWC employees, were fortunate enough to be awarded a bye for finishing first in the league standings. Rookies captain Jack Krist—the RAWC’s program coordinator—was quick to identify the differences between the two teams. “The other team is fast and young, we’re old and slow,” he said.
When the game was kicked off, Santini created a rush and passed the ball to a teammate, who scored and created a 1-0 lead for the Joes. Trying to change the flow of the game in his team’s favour, Krist released a slapshot at Average Joes goalie Kelvin Vo. It hit off the crossbar and was ruled high-sticking, and the possession was given to the Average Joes. This turnover gave the Joes a chance to set up in the offensive zone, and Santini slipped a goal past Rookies goalie Joseph Taylor, giving the Joes a two-goal lead.
With the Average Joes trying to take full control of the game, Taylor kept his team in the game by being strong between the pipes. Santini continued his strong play, and helped his team reach a three-goal lead. After a frustrated Rookie player was given a penalty, Santini potted another goal to make it 4-0 in the first period.
This goal sent the Average Joes on a confidence rush that let them throw another one past Taylor to make their lead 5-0.
The Rookies tried desperately to get on the scoreboard but Vo was able to keep them scoreless with some fantastic saves. As soon as the ball was dropped, though, a Rookies defender got the ball to a teammate, who pummelled it into the back of the net, shifting the tide slightly and ending the period with 5-1.
At the start of the second, the Rookies had an advantage on the power play. Vo proved too airtight for them and seemed to singlehandedly kill off the penalty. Once the penalty was over, the Joes mounted a blasting shot that lengthened their lead to a commanding 6-1. The Rookies got two quick goals on the board, however, cutting the lead to 6-3.
Frustrated, the Joes took a slashing penalty, allowing Krist to rifle a shot which hit the underside of the crossbar before being sent down the floor by a Joes player. After a stoppage in play, the referees ruled it a no-goal.
The Rookies weren’t able to maximize on any chances for the rest of the game, but the Joes got one more goal and landed at 7-3.
In the dying seconds of the game, the Rookies pulled their goalie for an extra attacker before accidently sending the ball onto Santini’s blade when he was standing in front of their net alone. With the net wide open, Santini showed good sportsmanship and avoided extending his team’s lead.
The Average Joes were thrilled to clinch another ball hockey championship. “We played hard this season,” said Vo. “The Rookies were the only team to beat us, and we couldn’t have done this without our team’s hard work.”
“They got good bounces; everything was going right for them. We were hitting the posts a lot, and we had a goal taken back without video review. We played hard [but] just couldn’t get it done,” said Taylor.
With another thrilling ball hockey season coming to an end, UTM students can look to sign up for the popular campus rec league next September.