The RE/MAX of Juneau Holiday Cup Soccer Tournament reached its pinnacle with six championship games at the Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House on Monday.
Very few people could have predicted Black Ice, who lost their Senior Division championship game to Grinch Gang, would play in one of them. Not only were they the last place team in their division entering the knock-out stage, they played their final three games of the tournament down one or two players.
“That was crazy,” said Michael White, 19, one of two goal scorers in the 8-2 championship loss. “I didn’t think we were going to go that far.”
The Grinch Gang had the last laugh on Monday though, allowing just a few shots to reach goaltender Kallen Hoover all game. Shane Kelly and Brysen Mitchell scored three goals apiece while Treyson Ramos and James Chang each had one.
Jerry Ramirez also scored for Black Ice, who fell behind 4-0 by halftime.
“We have good communication, that was one of the biggest things that we have,” Kelly said. “We’re not trying to force the ball, we’re playing together, and that was a big thing. The one game that we lost we weren’t playing together. We didn’t have our head in the right place.”
Black Ice wasn’t the only surprise of the tournament. Iced Out defeated previously-unbeaten Naughty List 8-2 in the High School Division championship game in the third match of the day.
“We decided to just start passing, made sure we had a couple touches before we even tried to go for a goal,” Koby Goldstein, 16, said.
Naughty List, who was past championships under the moniker “Avalanche,” featured some of the best girls players in the tournament, including goal scoring machines Malia Miller and Michaela Bentley and Taylor Bentley.
Goldstein got his team off to a hot start, scoring back-to-back goals just over a minute apart from each other, before taking his turn as goalkeeper. Their designated goalie got hurt before the tournament, so several players rotated in and out of the position.
“It gave us different perspectives on how each other were playing and kind of helped us out,” Goldstein said.
Miller cut Naughty List’s deficit in half with a goal several minutes later, but Kanon Goetz regained Iced Out’s two-goal advantage on heads-up play towards the end of the half. Goetz stole the ball and midfield and turned quickly up field before striking the ball to the top-right corner of the net.
Goetz and Goldstein had additional goals in the second half as Iced Out remained in control.
Goldstein’s younger sister, Ella, 14, scored four goals in the tournament. Another Goldstein is in line to join the team next year as Benjamin, 13, is due to enter high school with his siblings.
The Tinsel Toes cruised to the Elementary Division championship with their 8-1 win. Owen Adams’ four goals lead the Ice Kickles to a 4-1 victory in the Middle School Division championship game against Saint Nick Hat Tricks. The Less Than Mighty Narwhals won in the Classic Division over Santas Slayers and the Gentle Giraffes squeaked past Yuletide in the Masters Division.
Holiday Cup Championship Games
Elementary School: Tinsel Toes 8, Soccing Stuffers 1.
Middle School: Ice Kickles 4, Saint Nick Hat Tricks 1.
High School: Iced Out 8, Naughty List 2.
Senior: Grinch Gang 8, Black Ice 2.
Classic: The Less Than Mighty Narwhals 6, Santas Slayers 2.
Masters: Gentle Giraffes 3, Yuletide 2.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.