Do You Believe in Miracles, YES!
January 27, 2019
Lake Placid, New York
Your Jersey Shore Wildcats, Bantam B (Black) continued their impressive season by clinching Gold at the Can/Am Challenge Cup. Playing teams from Quincy and King Philip Massachusetts, Wallingford Connecticut, and Hollydell New Jersey, The Wildcats finished the round robin tournament with a 3-1 record, earning 2nd place, and a chance to play for the Gold on the Famed Herb Brooks Arena. The very ice where 39 years ago the underdog USA Men’s Olympic team upset the heavily favored Russian team.
If history were to repeat itself, the Wildcats would have to face their NJYHL division rival yet again, the Hollydell Hurricanes. Hollydell brought to Lake Placid their league leading 21-0-1 record while the Wildcats (current 3rd in the division) brought their 15-4-2 record. These two teams have grown accustomed to playing each other, in league play the Wildcats denied Hollydell their perfect season by being the only team to gain a point with a 2-2 tie against them. Again, although not reflective of the standings these teams also met at the Hershey, PA Thanksgiving tournament where the Wildcats eliminated Hollydell in the semi-finals in a game that ended overtime with the score 0-0, and it took a 3-1 shootout to get the win. The Wildcats lost in the finals and earned a 2nd place finish.
To get to the finals the Hurricanes went 4-0, outscoring their opponents 36-3. The Wildcats went 3-1, their only loss in the round robin was to the Hurricanes the night before the gold medal game with the score of 8-1.
Much like the 1980 Olympics, as the Wildcats stepped on to the ice with the world already assuming the winner, these Young men and women never once doubted themselves and came to play. Despite being out played and outshot 32-20, the Wildcats never wavered from their game plan and never played from behind in the game. With a thrilling double overtime goal by Anthony Pinto (hat-trick in the gold medal game) the gold was secured with a celebration that could have only rivaled that of Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Mark Johnson and the rest of the 1980 US Hockey team.
As if Winning the Gold was not enough, the team also displayed unprecedented good sportsmanship and won the CAN/AM Fair Play Award. This award was given to the team with the fewest penalty minutes during the tournament. The Wildcats committed only two penalties for four minutes in 5 games to run away with this award.