HOMER GLEN, IL
-- The first annual Illini Invitational
hosted by the University Of Illinois Roller Hockey Club
drawn to a close and the STLCC Magic have emerged as champions.
With a diminished squad of 9 skaters and 2 goalies, the
Magic were without the assistance of first-year man Josh Bryson, newly-appointed
alternate captain Justin Harvey, and wily veteran Ryan Dauernheim for the
tournament, not to mention first year man and backup goaltender Brandon
Oberndorfer. Nevertheless, the Magic turned in 6 straight victories to begin
what is sure to be an exciting season full of snipes, dangles, and great saves.
The team had been chomping at the bit to play games against
someone other than SLU, who they had been scrimmaging weekly for almost a
month. The tournament presented an opportunity to do so and the Magic showed
that they were more than happy to rise to the occasion.
Day 1 Recap
The Magic left St. Louis
early â€“ about 5:45AM on Saturday -- and
began the long drive to Homer Glen in the Chicago Suburbs for the tournament.
The first game, a high noon match up between STLCC and
Southern Illinois-Carbondale, got off to a rough start. The Magic, groggy after a long road trip and
ill-adjusted to the unfamiliar playing surface, spotted the Salukis a goal lead after
an early defensive lapse lead to a shot that slipped by goaltender Patrick Woodling. However, after
shaking out the cobwebs and allowing their legs to wake up a bit, the team
never looked back, capturing their first tournament win 6-1.
"We had good intensity," said brick wall goalie and tournament MVP Patrick Woodling. "It's good that a young squad is able to develop chemistry so quickly."
The second game was a bit of a thriller. Having no record from which to scout, the
Magic weren't ready to face the never-say-die playing style of the Lewis
University Flyers. The
Magic, propelled by a goalscoring frenzy of the dynamic duo of Sophomores Eric
Dauernheim and Bryan Lowe, would glide their way to a 6-2 lead. By the third period, a 4 goal cushion seemed to put the game out of reach. But lax play by the Magic (and/or the debauchery of
the night before) allowed the Flyers to creep back into the
One by one, goals started finding the net behind â€˜tender
Alex Cole until late in the third period when the Flyers notched their 6th and game-tying goal, seemingly solving the
Magic with under a minute to go.
"We got a little bit too cocky after we had the 4 goal lead," remarked Captain Jared Miklasz, "We can't let teams back into games like that."
an ugly tie to an inferior team, the top scorer of the tournament, Eric
Dauernheim would have none of it. With
just 6 seconds left, a tape-to-tape pass from who else -- Bryan Lowe -- found found the
chippy power-forwardâ€™s stick on a breakaway. The ensuing one-on-none chance isnâ€™t necessarily a game clincher, as even
the pros bury only 1 of every 3 penalty shots, but put so eloquently and in a
way that only Bryan Lowe can, Eric â€œdoesnâ€™t miss those.â€ Dauernheim buried the chance top shelf with just a few ticks remaining on the clock.
The Magic scraped by the feisty Flyers with under 10 seconds
to go, on the power of a 79-from-76
tally. Get used to seeing that on the
scoresheet, folks. It happened enough
times over the weekend that many of the opposing teams are surely still having nightmares about them.
A 2-0 record after day 1 of the tournament had iced the first place spot on their side of the bracket, but an 8am game vs. DePaul and three more games loomed the next day.
Stay Tuned for the Day 2 Recap an Tournament Notebook coming soon!!