UPDATED: Bud Light/Dugout rolls to 2nd straight Pond Hockey Classic Championship titleBud Light/Dugout Lounge won its second straight Great Lakes Classic Pond Hockey Tournament championship with a 34-22 win over the Lucky Pucks this afternoon behind the Superior Ice Arena.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
A change of venue didn’t bother Bud Light/Dugout Lounge as it won its second straight Great Lakes Classic Pond Hockey Tournament championship with a 34-22 win over the Lucky Pucks Sunday afternoon behind the Superior Ice Arena.
Because of warm weather and a lack of snow, this year’s event was moved from Barker’s Island to the Superior Amateur Hockey Association’s outdoor rinks.
“Despite the move, overall this weekend definitely was a success,” said organizer Mike McCoshen. “At the last minute we had to come to SAHA, not the place that we like to run the tournament, but it’s absolutely a wonderful place for a back-up.
“We only had four rinks this year, so we started a little earlier and went a little later, but there were no complaints from the players. Ultimately, it was a little easier here, with the building (SAHA) right there and the Zamboni coming out between games, but our plans are getting back to Barker’s Island next year.”
Another difference this year was having boards, instead of snow banks, to keep the pucks in play.
“It’s definitely a different style of a game when you have all the boards,” said Dustin LaValley, a member of the winning Bud Light/Dugout Team. “There were some teams that liked to bank it off the boards, so it wasn’t a puck possession game like it is at Barker’s. Also, the rink sizes are a little smaller, so there’s not as much finesse and more grinding.”
Desitte the changes, Bud Light/Dugout went through pool play undefeated at 5-0 and then outscored its three opponents 101-54 in the three championship round games.
Joining LaValley on the championship team were Rheese Carlson, Eric Dahlberg, Kyle Nosan and Kevin Kuklinski. LaValley is a former Superior Spartan as well as a former UW-Superior teammate with Carlson and Nosan. Dahlberg, a former Duluth East Greyhound along with Carlson, played collegiately at the University of Connecticut, while Kuklinski, an Eagle River native, played at St. Scholastica.
The Lucky Pucks went 4-1 in pool play then defeated Dodgies/Need a Fifth 32-19 and Belknap Liquor 24-22 in overtime to advance to the title game.
The Lucky Pucks included Jordan Baird, Riley Riddell, Colin Trachsel and former Superior Spartans’ Neil and Adam Sauter. All but Adam Sauter were teammates at St. Scholastica. Trachsel is also a former Greyhound.
“There’s a trick to playing this game, and it was different this year because you had two different size rinks,” Neil Sauter said. “The big ice worked to our advantage the whole weekend, but when you run into a team as skilled as they are, it’s pretty tough. The better team definitely won.”
The Lucky Pucks started the weekend with a lopsided loss to the Gopher Rejects.
“That first game really taught us a lot how to play on the small sheet of ice,” Sauter said. “From a playing standpoint the ice is so much better here, but I love it on the pond. The atmosphere is so much more at Barker’s, and it’s a way bigger event.”
The decision was made about a week ago to move the event from Barker’s Island and wouldn’t you know it, Mother Nature decided to play tricks on tournament organizers and dropped four to six inches of snow on Superior Friday.
“The snow was actually a nice backdrop,” McCoshen said. “It made everything white and made it look like winter, so that was actually good.
“Guys had a hard time cleaning off the rinks, but it wasn’t quite as much as last year when it was 4 p.m. and it was snowing so hard you couldn’t see the Fairlawn Museum.”
No matter where the event is played next winter, expect to see LaValley and the Sauters back on the ice.
“It’s a good weekend to come back to town and hang around with the boys,” said LaValley, a 1999 SHS graduate who lives in Savage, Minn. “It’s also nice to get our names back on the trophy for a second time.”
As for Sauter, he’ll be taking a job soon in Wisconsin Rapids, but still plans on returning. “We still had a blast,” Sauter said. “We took last year off, but we’ll be back and be here for a long time.”
POND PULSE: Bud Light/Dugout defeated the Wet Bandits 33-20 and then the Gopher Rejects 32-12 in the semifinals. … Members of the Gopher Reject team were Ben Denwiche, Matt Hupila, Nick Levar and former Spartans’ Justin Johnson and Drew Liebaert. ... Members of the Belknap Lounge were former Spartans’ Ryan Smith, Josh Seifert, Eric Severin, Jake Williams and Chris Bachinski. … Along with their names on the traveling trophy, members of Bud Light/Dugout Lounge were awarded nifty Bud Light jackets from their sponsors, Gary Warmington (Budweiser) and Forest Rieder (Dugout).
2012 Great Lakes
Pond Hockey Classic
Final Pool Standings
Dodgies/Need a Fifth 5-0
The Grind Line 4-1
Kounty Quarthouse 1-4
Gopher Rejects 5-0
Lucky Pucks 4-1
Tim’s Team 3-2
State Bank of Barnum 2-3
Booze Bags 1-4
Puck Hawgs 0-5
Bud Light/Dugout 5-0
The Has Beens 4-1
Office Bar 3-2
Belknap Electric 1-4
Belknap Lounge 5-0
Wet Bandits 4-1
Too Old & Cold 3-2
Great Hockey Minds 1-4
Fighting Lemurs 0-5
Lucky Pucks 32, Dodgies/Need a Fifth 19
Bud Light/Dugout 33, Wet Bandits 20
Gopher Rejects 16, Grind Line 15
Belknap Lounge 36, Has Beens 20
Lucky Pucks 24, Belknap Lounge 22, OT
Bud Light/Dugout 32, Gopher Rejects 12
Bud Light/Dugout 34, Lucky Pucks 22