Young islander helps team to world hockey title
Zach Fernandes of Holmes Beach and his teammates on Tampa Bay Lightning 2001s captured first place in the Bauer World Hockey Invititational Nov. 2-4 in Chicago.
The Bauer Invite is billed as the world’s largest youth hockey tournament. This year’s event featured 424 teams, 7,632 players and a total of 946 games played across eight age divisions, including teams from all across the United States, Canada, Russia, Latvia and the Czech Republic.
Zach plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, an independent, Tier 1-AAA hockey team. Tier 1-AAA is the highest level of competition for youth hockey in North America and the Lightning is made up of 14 of the top 2001 birth-year players in Florida from as far south as Miami and north from Jacksonville. The team is based at the Ellenton Ice Arena.
Ellenton’s Lightning won the 2001-AAA division championship with a perfect 7-0 record, eventually defeating the Soo Greyhounds from Sault Saint Marie, Ontario, 3-2 in the finals. The Soo Greyhounds have produced some top NHL players, including Wayne Gretzky, Joe Thorton and John Vanbiesbrouck among others.
Though this is Zach’s first season with the Ellenton team, he is a key contributor to the team’s success, according to coach James Carey, a former NHL Washington Capitals goalie. Zach brings a high energy, hardworking style of play that has been a great compliment to the team, Carey says.
The Lighting opened the tourney by cruising past the USA Eagles 4-1 and followed that up with a 6-4 victory over the Vernon Hills Ice Dogs.
Day two of the tournament saw the Lightning ease past the Dallas Penguins 4-1 before playing what was one of the more pivotal games in the competition.
The Lightning took on the Michigan Nationals in the round of 16. The teams battled to a 3-3 tie through regulation play and the game was decided by Zach, who scored the game-winning goal with six seconds remaining in the second overtime.
The exciting victory propelled the Lightning into the quarterfinals and eventually the championship game.
In the finals, the Lightning struggled early, falling behind by a 2-0 score, but came back in the third period behind goals from Berg Alexander, Gatto Connor and Simpson Burke to give the Lightning a 3-2 victory.
Though the Bauer World Championship is the team’s highlight of the season, their success goes beyond one tournament. The Lightning are ranked in the top 20 of 2001 Tier 1-AAA teams in the entire country, boastomg a 20-3-1 record against Tier 1-AAA opponents and are riding a 19-game win streak, including the Bauer tournament.
Congratulations to Zach and the rest of his Lightning teammates.
FL Discount Signs wins 4-v-4 soccer tourney
FL Discount Signs captured the inaugural 4-v-4 adult coed soccer tournament Dec. 8 at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. The tournament consisted of two, three-team pools with byes given to the teams that finished first in their pool.
FL Discount Signs captured its pool by defeating Island Cup 5-1 in its first game and Center of Attention 4-3 in its second game. Dream Crushers won the other pool by beating Island Pest Control 4-0 in its first game before slipping past Wash Family Construction 3-2 in its second game.
The tournament then moved to the knockout stage. Island Pest Control edged Center of Attention 4-3 and Wash Family Construction did the same to Island Cup to advance to the semifinals.
The Dream Crushers advanced to the finals by slipping past Island Pest Control, while FL Discount Signs destroyed Wash Family Construction 8-1 to advance to the finals.
The championship game was a spirited contest, but FL Discount Signs prevailed, earning a 4-3 overtime victory and the title.
Key Royale golf news
The women of Key Royale Club played a nine-hole, individual-low-net-in-flight golf match Dec. 4. Sue Little fired a 1-under-par 31 to earn a one-shot victory in Flight A over Helen Pollack and Laura Purcell.
Fran Barford, Barb Linderman and Christina Mason each carded 1-under-par 31s to finish in a three-way tie for first place in Flight B. Not to be outdone, Liz Lang, Joyce Brown, Heather Pritchard and Barb Estok each shot even-par-32 to finish in a four-way tie for second.
Judy Ward’s even-par-32 earned her the top spot in Flight C by two shots over Sue Wheeler and Barb Lindwall.
Joanne Ozdych’s 2-under-par 30 was the round of the day and gave her first place in Flight D by two shots over Shirley Cessna. Eunice Warda was another shot back in third place.
Nell Bergstrom, Bev Nevell and Warda won the team low-putts competition with a combined total of 59 putts.
Three teams emerged from pool play during Dec. 8 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. Hank Huyghe and John Crawford drew the bye into the finals and watched as Sam Samuels and Dom Livedoti defeated Rod Bussey and Gene Bobeldyk 22-16. Samuels ended the close match with a “six pack,” double ringer. The finals saw Samuels-Livedoti ease past Huyghe- Crawford by a 21-19 score.
The Dec. 5 games had two teams advance to the knockout stage. Jerry Disbrow walked past Tim Sofran and Paul Sheatler 21-11 to earn champ-for-the-day honors.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection.
There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.