The 2003 Shamrock Green team recently played very well in the Tri-Town Arena President’s Day Weekend Tournament. Out of 16 teams, the Shamrocks made the semifinals which was a great showing in a strong tournament
The first game against the Maine Jr Black Bears set the tone for the tournament. Down 2-0 entering the third period, Lance Anderson finally got the team going with a goal with 5 minutes left in the third with assists to Peter Kourkoutas and Jack Mackey. After going back down 3-1, the team rallied for three goals in the final 1 minute 34 seconds for the win. In perhaps the most productive shift in Shamrock hockey history, the combo of Ryan Ackerley, Jason Hurford, and Peter Kourkoutas scored the final three goals for the unlikely victory. Aidan Jalbert made a key pinch along the boards setting up Peter Kourkoutas for the second goal. Peter was in “Beast Mode” all tournament for the Green. Hurford scored the tying goal on a sniper’s shot after taking a pass from James Kourkoutas and Peter Kourkoutas scored the winning goal on a strong net drive after taking a pass from Ackerley. The goaltending duo of JT Bowdridge and Ryan Moriarty were solid in holding the fort until the offense could get untracked.
In Game Two vs league foe, the Bulldogs, the Shamrocks pulled off a 4-0 shutout. Ackerley scored the first goal of the game on a bar-down shot after taking an outlet pass from James Kourkoutas and using his sprinter’s speed to blow by the defense. Mackey scored a gritty, netfront goal knocking in a rebound of a Jalbert shot for the second. Mackey was an important player all tournament sacrificing his body to make plays against much larger opponents. Peter Kourkoutas continued going net hard popping in the third with assists to Mackey and Anderson. The fourth goal was scored by D-man Tommy Peterson as he joined the rush and knocked in a rebound of an Ackerley shot. Peterson was outstanding all tournament, playing strong, physical D. Defenseman Trevor Ring also had an incredible tournament. Ring showed his typical versatility, rushing the puck numerous times, generating scoring chances, while also playing strong in the corners and in front of the net. Moriarty played well again and notched the shutout.
Game three vs the Portland Jr Pirates saw a 9-0 victory with Bowdridge pitching the shutout in net. Hurford had a hat trick and Ackerly scored two. The line of Josh Brann, CJ Hacker, and Kevin Wood was strong with both Brann and Hacker both scoring and Wood picking up assists on both. Wood played a strong tournament, he forechecked strong and may have led the team in shots on net for the tourney. Hacker played his typical physical, smart hockey and made several great passes in this game. Josh Manickam picked up two assists in this game and buzzed the net all night long for the Green.
Game four was an outstanding hockey game between the Shamrocks and the Old York Road Raiders from Pennsylvania. Playing hard but gripping their sticks a bit tight, the Green found themselves down 2-0 midway through the first. On a powerplay with a minute left in the first, defenseman Shea Clark took a D to D pass from Peterson and buried a long wrist shot blocker side to give the team momentum. Halfway through the second, Manickam was banging away in front of the net, and generated a rebound that Ackerley popped in for the tie. The rest of the game was up and down with both teams getting many chance. The duo of Moriarty and Bowdridge were incredible in this game, with each making several amazing stops. The aggressive, physical forechecking of Brann helped stop several Raider D rushes before they even started. Anderson was a leader by example all tournament with his rugged, fearless play and was strong this game as well.
In the semifinals, the Green was simply overmatched by the eventual tournament champions, Syracuse Nationals. The boys played hard with D-men Jalbert and Clark playing much larger than their actual size, and displaying their typical never-quit attitudes. James Kourkoutas was his usual physical self and was stellar in making tape-to-tape breakout passes all tournament.
The team expects the strong competition from this tournament to be great preparation for the end of the EHF season and upcoming playoffs.