2018 Pond Hockey Classic wraps up with dramatic OT finishBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent February 04. 2018 9:15PM
MEREDITH — The Granite State made a strong showing, but the 2018 Pond Hockey Classic, which wrapped up Sunday on Meredith Bay, was dominated by teams from the Bay State, among them the Ice Holes who won the Open division in a 3-2 overtime thriller.
The brainchild of Scott Crowder, whose father Bruce and Uncle Keith Crowder both played in the National Hockey League, the PHC began in 2010 with 77 teams on six rinks.
This year, the PHC drew 275 teams and some 2,200 competitors who cumulatively played 500 games on Friday and Saturday to set up Sunday’s finals in the 30-plus, 40-plus, 50-plus; Shinny U35; Shinny 35-plus; Twig; Women’s; and Open divisions.
The Meredith-based Stonedam Islanders bested Shrinkage from Framingham, Mass., 11-4, to win the 30-plus title; while Team Blizzard of Marlborough, Mass., matched that score to down Broots Magoots of Exeter.
The Bumbles of Laconia defended the 40-plus crown they won last year by turning away the Richman Club of Scituate, Mass., 6-5, while the Boston Beauties did the same, albeit by a tally of 11-6, over the UBears of Brunswick, Maine, to remain the Women’s champion.
In the Shinny 35-plus, the Mugs of Gloucester, Mass., beat Hit the Net of Littleton, Mass., 8-7; while the Milton Maple Leafs of Milton, MA, defeated the Boston Whalers of Plaistow, 4-3, in the 50-plus division.
Team Swedish Stu came all the way from Baltimore, Md. to claim the Twig title.
All of Sunday’s matches were played in regulation time, but the matchup between the Ice Holes and Paddy’s of Cambridge, Mass., went into extended play, which, from Crowder’s point of view, was an apropos high note for the PHC to end on.
The Ice Holes and three other top PHC teams will travel to Boston in March for a Red Bull pond hockey final that will see them match up with the top four teams from a tournament that Crowder runs on Lake Champlain in Vermont.
“It was an awesome weekend,” said Crowder. “The weather cooperated, there was a lot of hockey and a lot of people and the Red Bull game went into OT.”
Starting as a local event, the PHC in just nine years has grown to become the largest of its kind in New England and in the top 3 nationwide, said Crowder, who has been recognized and hailed for creating another reason for visitors to come up to the Lakes Region in the winter.