The Toronto Golden Jets senior men won the silver medal at the National Championships this weekend at the Markham Pan Am Pool.
The Jets began the weekend as the #2 seed and drew the #7 seeded Mavs in the quarter final. The Jets jumped on top 3-1 in the first quarter and then used a pair of 2-0 periods to put the game away leading 7-1 after three quarters.
Tuna Tali led all scorers with a hat trick while Euan Scoffield notched a pair of goals. Rudy Despaignes, Milos Radojcic, Mike Chapman, Chris Vang and Pedro Moraes each added singles.
Goalie Emirhan Ozdemir was outstanding in the Golden Jets net constantly frustrating the opposition shooters and shutting them out for two and a half quarters.
On Saturday evening, the Jets’ semi-final match up was against the #1 seed from the Western Conference, the Calgary Torpedoes. Last year, the Torpedoes defeated the Jets in the bronze medal game so Toronto was looking for revenge and a trip to the gold medal game.
Calgary, a team with ex-National Team players and lots of experience, wasted no time in taking a 2-1 first quarter lead. However, the Jets came back with a strong second quarter, outscoring the Torpedoes 3-0 to take a 4-2 half time advantage. The Jets matched their second quarter total but the defence faltered allowing the Torpedoes to stay within reach as the Jets led 7-5 heading into the final frame.
Neither team could generate any offence in the final period until Calgary scored on a penalty shot with a half minute to play. However, the Jets successfully protected the ball against a furious storm defence by the Torpedoes to hang on for the 7-6 win.
Scoffield led the way with a pair of goals while Matt Hart, Paul Spooner, Despaignes, Moraes and Tali added singles. Ozdemir had another strong game in the cage for the Jets.
On Sunday, the Jets had to face off against last year’s champion DDO (Montreal) squad.
The two teams had a thrilling regular season game in Ottawa two weeks earlier that saw the score tied at half time, DDO rack up a 3-0 third quarter and the Jets rebound with a 4-0 final frame to eke out a 9-8 win.
The Jets opened the scoring out of the center on their first attack but DDO responded with a similar goal to tie things up. DDO then potted two more in the quarter to take a 3-1 lead into the second period. Neither team managed much offensively in a goalless quarter leaving the score 3-1 as the teams changed ends.
DDO then went up 4-1 early in the third quarter but the never-say-die Jets then rallied for two goals of their own to pull within one entering the final quarter. DDO re-established its two goal margin part way through the period but the Jets immediately responded. DDO then went up 6-4 only to see the Golden Jets score on the counterattack with 1:42 remaining to set up an exciting finish. The Jets defence held but the offence never got the ball back after its one failed attempt as DDO got a fortuitous rebound off the cross bar to get a new shot clock and ran out the game for the 6-5 victory.
Sukhmun Hare and Spooner each had a pair of goals with Despaigne adding a single.
Incredibly, this was the 9th time in the last 10 years that the Golden Jets men have been in the national championship gold medal game with the other year being a bronze medal game.
CONGRATULATIONS to the senior men!!!