A couple of hundred fans braved the weather to enjoy the first ever official “Beverage Bowl” last Saturday night, March 11.
Played between the rec league champions, Norms Auto, and a selected group of players from the Old Timers division, the game has been played unofficially in the past few years, but this marks the first year of it being a formal event.
The Old Timers got off to a good start opening the scoring on a goal by Brad Owens. The young guys tied it up with one from Brent DeJong only to have the grey beards strike back with a nice effort by Dave Merritt. The first period ended with the Old Timers up 2-1.
The second period saw the Old Timers run up a 4-1 lead with goals by Matt LeBlanc and Cory Tralenberg but the rec leaguers scored two late goals by Mike Johnson and Ryan Watson. The second period ended with the old guys hanging on to a slim 4-3 lead.
The third period saw the Old Timers, most of who haven’t played three consecutive periods of hockey in many years, begin to fade a bit against the younger legs.
Ryan Beaulieu and Taylor Mallett scored nice two markers to erase the lead and boost the rec team ahead by one. Not giving up, Travis Lamming tied it up with six minutes left but Mike Denomme restored Norms Auto’s lead with 4.12 left.
The Old Timers refused to fade however and it was Lamming again, this time with a determined effort, scoring with only three minutes left to knot it up again. Goalies Cory Croft (alternating with Branden Green) and Darren Beaulieu kept it tied up and the game ended with a 6-6 tie.
Neither team wanted to leave it at that and agreed to a five minute overtime. In the overtime, an early power play looked promising for the Old Timers but Kelly Gingles jumped on a turnover at the blueline and spotted a streaking Taylor Mallett up the middle. Reminiscent of a young Jaromir Jagr, Mallett threw some slick moves on Croft and slipped the puck into the net for the win.
The young guns, their pride preserved at the last minute, swarmed over the boards to celebrate. Both teams gathered at centre ice for a group picture with officials Andre Jean and Mike Lamarche. Along with these two, scorekeeper Edie Kellar all donated their time for the charity game. All that was left was for Old Timers captain Lamming to make the walk of shame down the tunnel to deliver the agreed upon “beverages” to the triumphant opposition.
The real winner of the evening was the Food Bank, with admission being granted by food or cash donation. A large quantity of food and cash donations were collected and team sponsor Norms Auto and Totem Ford also kicked in a cash donation.
The Adult Rec Hockey League is now wrapped up for the season. It’s hoped this game will become an annual event, as it was fast, clean, well-played hockey and enjoyed by all the players, coaches and fans.
Caption: Incoming hockey rec league President Travis Lamming, right, passes donations from the charity Beverage Bowl game to Leah Ann Rogers from the Field of Faith Foundation. Donations tallied to $250 cash, plus cans of food.