2015-16 T4 CHAMPIONS - West Michigan Gong Show
The West Michigan Gong Show won the 2015-16 T4 division Championship! They did it the hard way. They entered the Championship event as the #3 seed. They lost their first game on Saturday vs. #2 Buffalo Fusion 4-8. They then played the #4 Chi-Town Shamrocks and lost that game 3-2. They ended up as the #4 seed entering the Sunday Championship playoffs.
Sunday - quarter-final game vs. #5 Cincinnati Rollerdactyls, won 3-1
Sunday - semi-final game vs. #8 Windy City Syndicate, won 4-0
Sunday - Championship Game vs. #2 Buffalo Fusion. They entered the third period down 3-1. The captain, Mike Whelpley scored at the 11:05 mark (assisted by Gordie Anderson). At the 9:39 mark, Chris Laux scored to tie the game (assisted by Shawn Deboer). With just 1:54 left in the game, Chris Laux scored the game winner.
The T2 division looked to be dominated by the Buffalo City Hawks who brought back their 2014-15 MIHA Championships winning goalie - Kyle Johnson. They were only defeated by the Mid-Michigan Saints in a shootout on Sunday!
The T3 division was a very important tournament for many teams regarding Championship eligibility. The winner of the 1:15pm game between the Cincinnati Flames and Mid-Michigan saints was for a ticket to the Championships in three weeks. The Flames looked like they had the game all wrapped up with a 3-2 lead in the 3rd. The Saints scored 3 unanswered goals and advanced to the tournament championship game and clinched a spot at the MIHA Championships all at the same time.
The upset of the season occurred early in the day on Sunday. The #1 Buffalo Anarchy were the favorites to win the T4 Championships. The Windy City Syndicate barely got into the playoffs and lost both of their Saturday games to the Great Lakes Noresmen and the Mid-Michigan Saints. They entered Sunday as the #8 seed. The game went back and forth, the Windy City Syndicate took the lead with 2:37 remaining. The Buffalo Anarchy was able to capitalize on a power play goal from Jim Leair (assisted by Dan Cicero). In the shootout both teams scored in the first round, Syndicate - Tyler Diaz / Anarchy - Tom Ferber. No one scored again until the 7th round when Albert Yu went five-hole. Syndicate goalie Vince Abbatte was able to get just enough of RJ Ciceros low shot that it slid just outside of the glove side post ending their season.
There was only one other #8 seed defeating a #1 seed in MIHA Championship history, that was during the 2013-14 T2 Championships when the #8 Mid-Michigan Saints upset the heavily favored Buffalo City Hawks Black team 8-5. The #8 Saints went on to win the 2013-14 Championships by defeating the #7 Detroit Knights in Fort Wayne, IN.