2023 Viking Cup – Blackwood Beasts U15 Div2

Selected photos from the 2023 Viking Cup Blackwood Beasts U15 Junior B’s journey (and one U11 game in the mix).  In the round robin series the U15 Junior B Beasts would face the Viking Fury and Viking Thunder teams twice in the round robin games.  The Beasts had to wear Blackwood Gorillas jerseys due to a shortage of large sized Beasts jerseys, but unfortunately with the Viking Fury having dark green jerseys, the organisers requested that the Beasts wear borrowed blue Viking Ice jerseys for their games against Fury….despite Blackwood Gorillas clearly have the word “Blackwood” in big letters on them?  Anyway, it didn’t mess with the Beasts heads.

In their games, especially the first two games, the team took their Saturday morning Blackwood Junior style of play and absolutely dominated.  They gelled as a cohesive unit really well (on and off the rink), put in solid performances in all positions, created space, communicated well on the rink and most importantly backed each other up as well as encouraging the less experienced players.  Goaltender Hugo Shopov, who had only donned the big pads on a couple of occasions made some excellent saves for such a short time between the pipes.

U15 Junior B – Game 1 Beasts v Viking Fury 18-1 (MVP – whole team).  It was a dominant performance from the entire team, too difficult to pick a separate MVP

U15 Junior B – Game 2 Beasts v Viking Thunder 12-3 (MVP – Callum von Einem).  Callum stood out in defence as well as forward, playing with a lot of confidence, clearing many shots, check pokes and shots on goal against a difficult goalie to get past.

U11 Junior A – Viking Ice v Viking Flames 4-4

U15 Junior B – Game 3 Beasts v Fury 6-3 (MVP – Jordan Kutsche).  Traditional 3rd games in tournaments can often be what is colloquially known as “CBF” games (ie  lethargic), but not this  time for Jordan, scoring 2 goals playing mainly centre, as well as putting many passes to his forward Ricki Sinclair.

U15 Junior B – Game 4 Beasts v Viking Thunder 3-2 (MVP – Ricki Sinclair).  After a long stalemate between both teams unable to score, Ricki found a way past the large Thunder goaltender to open the scoring and then consistently put shots on goal.

Grand Final Premier – Geri-Hat-Tricks v Generals 6-1   The Geri-Hat-Tricks were just too strong for the Generals on the day.

U15 Junior B – Grand Final Beasts v Viking Thunder 8-2 (MVP-whole team) After the bruising encounter in the last game (3-2 score) the Beasts were expecting more of the same with a slow grind.  As expected it took a while for a goal to appear on the scoreboard and it was Luke d’Onise that opened the account for the Beasts.  Shortly afterwards the 2nd goal came from Rory Moffat.  The Beasts forward started putting a lot of shots on goal.  A lot of shots also came from Jordan Kutsche playing in defence, firing in at least 16 shots alone, trying to wear the Thunder goaltender Riley Anderson down.  He would steal the puck and skate away to safety behind the goals, emerging on the other side with a sprint before unleashing another shot on goal or finding a team mate with a pass.  The defence generally held well shutting down anything near the goal, with team mates backing up when another was in trouble with last second lunges and check pokes.  Lucas Rickers had a solid game in defence allowing Callum von Einem to play up forward but Callum attracted a lot of attention from the Thunder defenders when the puck was anywhere near the goal crease as they tried to jostle him out of position.  Rory Moffat (lead goalscorer) was on fire once again, being “allowed” to play in his usual position at centre after spending most time in defence in the Saturday games.  Learning from the Sunday game he was able to exploit a few weaknesses in the Thunder goaltender’s style as well as simply having patience before unleashing a shot.  He finished with 7 goals in the grand final, his 2nd double hat trick for the tournament.  Forward Ricki Sinclair just couldn’t find a way past the Thunder goaltender, such was his skill in the net when the puck was in close, but not for trying as she put up many shots on goal.  Eventually the Thunder were able to capitalise on a couple of rare Beasts defensive errors and sent in some of their characteristic, long, high or bouncing bombs from well past the centre which beat the young Beasts goaltender Hugo Shopov.  Hugo had managed to make some excellent saves, but the shots on goal from the Thunder players were far and between, due to the stingy Beasts defence as the shots on goal tally shows.  Shots on goal were: Beasts 40 shots, Thunder 8 shots.  Final score: Blackwood Beasts 8, Viking Thunder 2.

Awards followed the game with the cup going to the Blackwood Beasts.  Highest goalscorer and points scorer went to Rory Moffat with 23 goals and 27 points overall (for the round robin games).  Best goaltender award went to Viking Thunder’s Bendigo based goaltender Riley Anderson with a 0.861 save percentage, to Hugo Shopov’s 0.786.