By Scott Adams
Special to The Compass
Editor's note: the following was also pubilshed in the Feb. 26, 2013 print edition of The Compass.
What do you get when you combine a Yugoslavian bus driver and 15 local hockey players with a four-hour bus, ferry ride and a sheet of ice?
How about a weekend of memories and a championship to boot. After an interesting bus excursion and a short ferry ride from Farewell to Fogo Island, the Upper Island Cove Hawks hit the ice on Friday evening, Jan. 18 against the host Fogo Islanders in the first game of the annual Iceberg Cup Recreation Hockey Tournament.
As the defending champs from 2012, the Hawks were promised a tougher ride in the 2013 tournament, which featured five teams from Fogo, Gander, Grand Falls and St. John's.
Encouraged by their cheering fans, the Islanders stayed with the Hawks in the first 25-minute half, trailing 3-2 at the break. The Hawks added a couple of quick markers early in the second half, and held on for a 6-4 victory in the fast-paced opener. Chris Petten led the Hawks attack with a hat trick, while Charlie Deering, Paul Brown, and Andrew "Cy" Babb added singles. Ian Moores chipped in three assists.
The tournament was a homecoming of sorts for a couple of Hawks, which had prompted the January visit to the island retreat. John Drover was a former teacher at Fogo Island Academy, while Randy Reardon has paternal family roots on Fogo Island, tracing back a couple of generations.
Along with some fast-paced hockey, it was a great opportunity for the players to make new friends and get reacquainted with some old friends and family.
The Hawks had a slow start in Game 2 on Saturday morning, but were ahead 2-1 at the break against a gritty team from Grand Falls. The team from Central couldn't keep pace in the second half as the Hawks added three more goals in a 5-1 win. Paul Brown carried the big stick in, picking up a hat trick, while Michael Adams and Randy Reardon added singles. John Drover added three assists.
The final round-robin game on Saturday afternoon saw the Hawks pick up a hard fought 4-2 victory over a St. John's team which featured former Southern Shore goaltender Dennis Lake between the pipes. Mark Reynolds led the way with two goals, while Neil Shute and Shawn Drover added singles. Jonathan Connelly added a pair of helpers to keep the Hawks unbeaten streak alive.
With a 3-0 preliminary round-record, the Hawks were ranked first overall in the six-team tournament, gaining a bye to the final against the winner of the semi-final game between St. John's and Grand Falls.
In the championship game on Saturday night in front of 200 local fans, the Hawks ran into a smooth skating and determined team from Grand Falls, a rematch from the 2012 final. Hawks goaltender Lee Noseworthy was forced to make a number of outstanding saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless and keep the Hawks in the mix.
Picking up the pace in the second half, the Hawks broke the ice with about 15 minutes remaining when Matthew "Walt" Hiscock blocked a shot on his own blueline and skated in alone to score on a nifty forehand deke. With the tide slowly shifting, the Hawks added an insurance marker with eight minutes to play when Scott Adams fired a low shot from the slot through a Shawn Drover screen on a pass from Ian Moores.
The Hawks clinched the title with a well-earned 2-0 victory and captured the 2013 Iceberg Cup, named in memory of Thomas and Emma Penton.
If all goes well, the Hawks hope to return to Fogo Island in 2014 to defend their title, much to the delight of the host organizing committee. With a 1.75 goals against average, four wins and a shut out, goalkeeper Lee Noseworthy was selected team MVP for the second straight year.