The only difference this time around — it was Bud Light/Dugout coming out on top with a 15-14 win Sunday afternoon on Barker’s Island.
Anchor Bar snapped Bud Light/Dugout’s string of five consecutive Classic titles last year with a 31-30 win on the outdoor rinks at the Superior Ice Arena.
“Getting back to the pond was better for us, rather than playing on the outdoor rink,” said Kyle Nosan of Bud Light/Dugout Lounge. “Playing with boards was a challenge, because the puck never goes out of play. Having the puck go out of play and getting that natural rest helped us.”
Remaining members of the Bud Light/Dugout team, which averages 35 in age, were Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley, Alec Doig and Rheese and Ross Carlson.
LaValley, who graduated from Superior High School is 1999, is a former UW-Superior Yellowjacket along with Nosan, Doig and Rheese Carlson. Kuklinski is a former St. Scholastica Saint and Ross Carlson is a former Wisconsin Badger.
The Anchor Bar roster included Kellen McCoshen, Tim Smith, Pat Dalbec, Dane Morin, David Dalbec and Chris Sislo. All are former Spartans, except Morin, who was a Duluth Marshall Hilltopper.
Smith went on to play with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, Pat and David Dalbec and Sislo played at UWS, Morin played several years of junior hockey, and McCoshen played baseball at UMD.
Bud Light/Dugout went 5-0 through pool play, then advanced to the title game by defeating Freaky Fast, 19-17 in OT, and Channel 4 News, 20-18.
Anchor Bar also went 5-0 in pool play, then defeated the Gopher Rejects 18-9 and Stewart’s (Duluth) 22-14 to set up a rematch with Bud Light/Dugout.
“We had to struggle this tournament,” Nosan said. “We had to go to overtime in the quarterfinals, had a two-goal game in the semifinals and a one-goal here.
“I thought the tournament overall was very competitive, from Friday night all the way through Sunday afternoon.”
Sunday’s title game was as close as it could get. The game was tied 13 times, including 8-8 at halftime, and neither team led by more than a goal until Bud Light/Dugout took a 15-13 lead with around a minute remaining.
Anchor Bar got within 15-14 with 30 seconds remaining, but Bud Light/Dugout was able to hold on the for the win.
Bud Light/Dugout’s first lead came at 6-5, and Anchor Bar’s last lead was 9-8 early in the second half.
Nosan said his team had a great time playing and being back in Superior, but he didn’t want to commit to returning to defend their title.
“We say we’re going to retire every year,” Nosan said. “But we’ll start talking on Dec. 25 and decide then if we’ll be back or not.
“It’s a fun weekend for us. Some of us played at UWS and others are from Duluth or Superior, so this is like coming home for us. This was our eighth year, maybe we have one or two more left, we’ll see.”
Great Lakes Ice Festival
This was the first year the pond hockey tournament was part of the Great Lakes Ice Festival, and the weekend began Friday night with the Superior Police Department defeating the Superior Fire Department 19-15 in the inaugural Guns & Hoses game.
“Getting back on the pond was absolutely a great thing for us,” said tournament organizer Mike McCoshen. “We had fabulous weather and I believe we had the biggest crowds we’ve ever had.”
Helping with the larger crowds was the ice festival, which included ice sculptures, a local arts and crafts fair, kids’ zone activities, the Enbridge half-pipe snow slide, open ice skating, a bonfire with s’mores, a tiny diva princess party, a golf tournament and an adult ice bar at Barker’s Island Inn.
“The ice fest had a lot to do with the larger crowds,” McCoshen said. “There were a lot of people that just came through to see what was going on; you could see the trolley and hay wagons were full riding by all weekend long; I understand the hotel bar was full; and the parking lots that the trolley went to were full. This was a good event for the entire community.”
McCoshen only sees the event growing in the future, and organizers will meet soon to see if there are ways to make any improvements.
“We’ll have a meeting within a week or two while things are fresh in everybody’s minds,” McCoshen said. “The pond hockey will have its own meeting and then the Ice Festival committee will meet. That’s when we’ll decide if we need to tweak anything in the future.”
POND PONDERS: Other pre-classic favorites returning were the Wet Bandits and the Gopher Rejects, who won the title in 2006 and have played in all 13 tournaments. The Wet Bandits won their pool but were upset by Stewart’s in the quarterfinals. The Gopher Rejects finished second in their pool and lost to Anchor Bar in the quarterfinals. … Playing for Stewart’s (Duluth) were Dave Smith, Hunter Bergerson, Nick Jones, Jordan Shockley and Sean Tobin. … Channel 4 News (from the movie Anchorman) included Aaron Wakfield-Zubiate, Caleb Dushkin, Zach Magdzas, Jesse Polson, Nick Funk and Aaron Miller. … Matt’s Misfits won the Senior Division and Rag’s Rockets finished second. … The Freaky Fast team included Grant Hanson, Matt Hinaus and Troy, Mark, Terry and Matt Shold. Hanson, Hinaus and Troy and Mark Shold were members of the 2015 Spartan state championship team and Terry Shold played at UMD. … The Midwest Ice Racing Association was initially scheduled to host races this past weekend, but those have been rescheduled for Saturday just off the Whaleback Meteor.
13th Annual Great Lakes
Pond Hockey Classic
Pool Play Results
A — 1. Anchor Bar (5-0); 2. Stewart’s
B — 1. Channel 4 News (4-1); 2. Freaky Fast
C — 1. Wet Bandits (4-1); 2. Gopher Rejects
D — 1. Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (5-0); 2. Biscuits & Gravy
Anchor Bar 18, Gopher Rejects 9
Channel 4 News 24, Biscuits & Gravy 16
Stewart’s 32, Wet Bandits 16
Bud Light/Dugout 19, Freaky Fast 17, OT
Anchor Bar 22, Stewart’s 14
Bud Light 20, Channel 4 News 18
Bud Light/Dugout 15, Anchor Bar 14
Pool Play – Final Results
Matt’s Misfits............................................. 6
Rag’s Rockets........................................... 4
MN Warriors White.................................... 2
MN Warriors Blue...................................... 0
Great Lakes Pond Hockey Classic
2005 — Need a Fifth (Tim Nelson, Chad Matushak, Jay Matushak, Kelly Stephens)
2006 — Gopher Rejects (Justin Johnson, Chris Green, Brian Delwiche, Matt Hupila)
2007 — Armadillos (Jeremy Enders, Jamie Dowson, Ryan Johnson, Ryan Sustawenko)
2008 — Lucky’s/Shenannigan’s (Ryan O’Neill, Dan Krenn, Dave Coleman, Andy Klapperick)
2009 — Heavy Metal Hockey (Steve Rodberg, Ryan Vieau, Rheese Carlson, Ben Johnson, Tony Scherber)
2010 — Dodgie’s/Need a Fifth (Chad Matushak, Tim Nelson, Clayton Weiby, Kelly Stephens, Chris Sislo)
2011 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Kyle Nosan, Kevin Kuklinski, Eric Bausano, Dustin LaValley, Eric Dahlberg)
2012 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Rheese Carlson, Eric Dahlberg, Kyle Nosan, Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley)
2013 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Rheese Carlson, Eric Dahlberg, Kyle Nosan, Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley)
2014 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Rheese Carlson, Dustin Cosgrove, Eric Dahlberg, Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley, Kyle Nosan)
2015 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Rheese Carlson, Dustin Cosgrove, Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley, Derek Miller, Kyle Nosan)
2016 — Anchor Bar/Belknap Lounge (Chris Bishop, Pat Dalbec, Kellen McCoshen, Dane Morin, Tom Paine, Tim Smith)
2017 — Bud Light/Dugout Lounge (Kyle Nosan, Kevin Kuklinski, Dustin LaValley, Alex Doig, Rheese Carlson, Ross Carlson)