Ft.Wayne3 preview: T4 Champ Weekend
It is May and it is MIHA Championship season. Again, the championship weekend has been split between two weekends in order to give the top 8 teams from each division a chance at their divisions championship. The first weekend will be the T4 Championship weekend with the top 9 teams from T4. Also this weekend, there will be a 3 team T3 division and there will be a 30+ division for the first time in MIHA history! The 30+ teams include 4 of the strongest MIHA franchises: Detroit Knights, Detroit Revolution, Mid-Michigan Saints, and Windy City Syndicate. Each team will consist of a mix of different skill levels, but mostly players from the T3 division.
2017-18 T4 MIHA Championship Teams
#1 Detroit Revolution - Although they are the #1 seed, they might have to rely on their backup goalie as their goalie is a game time decision for Saturday. This 13-3-0 team had all three losses in their last 5 games. The last time that this team has played together, they lost 2-1 to the Grand Rapids Brewsaders at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse back in January.
#2 IIP Damage - The other 13-3-0 team is coming into Championships as defending T4 Champions. They won their last 13 games in a row! The question looms if that they might be burned-out as they played in Chicago2 in February and in both of the Ft.Wayne tournaments. They won all three of the tournaments mentioned, but they had one-goal games with the Grand Rapids Brewsaders, Chicago Rampage, and the Detroit Knights.
#3 Buffalo Spartans - This second year team is making their first appearance at the MIHA Championshps. They finished #9 last season and missed out by just a couple of points. This season they finished 3rd. They have only gone undefeated one weekend this season and that was back in September at Buffalo1. This team is led by their captain, Greg Campbell, who leads the team with 31 points. The Spartans only have 3 players in double digits for points.
#4 Chicago Rampage - The first year team has done really well (10-5-1), and earned a spot at Championships in their first season in MIHA. They rely heavily on two players - #23 Nate McCattty (29 points, 24g, 5a) and #71 Bobby Gibson (23 points, 18g, 5a). No one else on the roster has more than 7 goals. They are also coming into Championships losing 3 of their last 4 games.
#5 Grand Rapids Brewsaders - This first year team has several players that played in MIHA before at tournaments in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is the smallest market that MIHA goes to. When not under water, Rivertown Sports only hosts roller hockey two nights per week. They are a defensive minded team, scoring the fewest goals of any other team at Championships (3.5 gpg). They finished with a respectful (10-6-0) record.
#6 Southwest Ohio Outlaws - This second year team is making their MIHA Championships debut as well. They are 9-5-1 but over their last 10 games they are only 5-5-0. They are one of the more balanced teams at Championships with 4 players with at least 20 points - #3 Jake Weidling (31), #7 Ryan Costello (27), #11 Josh Horn (26), and Ronnie Corp (20). They lost their last game to the #9 Windy City Syndicate just last month at Fort Wayne2.
#7 Cincinnati Rollerdactyls - This is going to be their third appearance at the MIHA Championships in 3 seasons of existence. Finishing (9-5-1) this season, they won their home tournament at Sports Plus in December and barely lost the Buffalo2 tournament in the Championship game to the Buffalo Spartans 8-7. They can compete with any of the top teams in the division. Although they only feature one 20 point scorer - #24 Dan Ickes with 26 points.
#8 Buffalo Fusion - Finishing 7-6-0, they are lead by #18 Chris Farr with 31 points. They won the Detroit1 tournament back in September and could be a sleeper pick to win the whole thing. They have been in the final game to win the Championships the last two seasons, falling to Damage (2016-17) and Gong Show (2015-16). They lost in the semi-final game during the 2014-15 season to the Buffalo City Hawks Blue. They have Championship experience, they made last seasons finals only skating 4 skaters!
#9 Windy City Syndicate - The only team entering the Championships with a losing record, (6-9-0). They did post wins this season against the #6 SWO Outlaws and the #2 IIP Damage. Although they are a long shot, the Windy City Syndicate have a history of upsetting teams at Championships. Last season on Championship Sunday they were the #6 seed and upset the #3 Mid-Michigan Saints 5-2, before losing to the Buffalo Fusion in the semi-finals. The previous season (2015-16), the #8 Windy City Syndicate stunned the #1 ranked Buffalo Anarchy when #68 Albert Yu scored the game winner in the 7th round of a shootout. The heavily favored Buffalo Anarchy were 15-2 entering that game.
Good luck to everyone playing this weekend!