2015 Chicago Spring Leagues – Floor Hockey & Kickball Championships (May 3)

Updated: May 6, 2015

The Champs Are Here! It was another wild Sunday afternoon chalk full of close Games that could have gone 100 different ways at different times.. Through it all there could only be 1 Champion (in each League of course).  Would it end up being the same core who would take the Crowns in both Leagues?  Read on to find out!  Before we get to the Recaps, here’s the Weekly Video Highlights!  Ok let’s Crown ‘Em!

Floor Hockey Championship Series (Best of 3)

1. Team Kowalczyk (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) v. 3. Team Harris (Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.)

Just to set up how we got here..  Team Kowalczyk was in the pole position to get to the Championship all season long as they were the final undefeated Team and really showcased consistency throughout the year.. Team Harris started fast, went through a brief slide, and then rebounded very nicely to wind up in the #3 Seed come Playoff time.  Both squads fought through very tough 3-Game Series in the Semi-Finals to advance into the Championship.. All of that led us to Sunday afternoon.  Each Game of the Championship Series would be played on Sunday and, thus, endurance and depth would be as important as true ability on the League’s final day.

In Game 1 Team Harris was the aggressors as they kept possession for the remainder of the Game and peppered Team Kowalczyk with several shots.. As the Game wore on Team Harris built up a nice lead and showed why they were in the Championship to begin with. Another distinction was made clear through Game 1.. Team Harris had a full 2nd Line of Players ready to go and they changed lines quickly and efficiently.. While on the other hand, Team Kowalczyk just had one extra player.. Something that would need to be monitored throughout the day.. We entered the 3rd period and Team Harris held a 5-3 lead.. Minutes later Team Kowalczyk pulled within 1 and all of a sudden it felt like Team Kowalczyk may grab hold of one of their patented comebacks.. The final stretch was played with this one Goal lead for Team Harris.. It seemed as if time would just not tick away fast enough for them.. 1 minute.. 30 seconds.. Team Kowalczyk continued to force the issue.. With just 10 seconds to go Team Harris cleared it and their Captain Adam Harris put an exclamation point on a Game 1 Win for Team Harris as he lit the lamp at the buzzer to Win it 6-4.

Game 2 would start about 10 minutes later and when playing back to backs with the same Teams, momentum is always a funny thing.. Would the Winner from Game 1 be happy and complacent? Or sense the end and go for the final blow?  Well, Team Harris sensed blood in the water and started out quickly once again grabbing hold of a quick 1-0 advantage.  Team Kowalczyk just seemed gassed. Their lack of a true bench in this one seemed as if it may be enough to keep them from the Crown.. But they kept pushing along and eventually they found their second (or third) wind.. Even after Team Kowalczyk picked it up much of Game 2 had a similar feel to Game 1.. Team Harris controlled possession throughout and certainly generated more shots.. Heading into the 3rd period Team Harris again held a 1 Goal lead. They were up 5-4 as the 3rd started and were just 14 minutes away from the crown.. This time however, Team Kowalczyk found an equalizer! Regulation ended and we headed to Overtime in Game 2.  OT was Sudden Death style.. 4 minute periods.  We’d continue playing until we had a winner.. No shootouts here.. The first OT came and went with no Goals but we did have a few penalties as tempers were certainly flaring by this point.. 2OT, same thing.. No Goals, but Team Harris did pick up a penalty near the end of the 2OT..  3OT meant we would go down to 4 v 4 and with Team Harris on the PK, Team Kowalczyk had a 4 v 3 advantage for the first minute.. They knew the time was now to even up the series.. With a lot more room to operate  Captain Mike Kowalczyk got the ball on his forehand at the left dot and ripped a wrister to the right corner of the net and Team Kowalczyk had evened up the series at 1-1 in 3OT! 

Game 3 was set up as a Winner Take All affair.. Both Teams were certainly gassed after playing what essentially was 7 full periods of Hockey at this point.. They were both mentally and physically exhausted.. The only thing that kept them going was knowing the Crown was within their grasp..  In Game 3, the script flipped.. Team Kowalczyk utilized the momentum they seized at the end of Game 2 to come out firing in Game 3 and they became the aggressors.  They built up a 4-1 lead with a dose of steady offense and just putting the ball on net.  Heading into the 3rd period with a score of 4-1 it seemed as if the #1 Team Kowaczyk had withstood the last Team Harris punch and would win it all…  Only Team Harris had other plans..  Early in the 3rd, Captain Harris scored again and made it 4-2.  Alex Hayman than scored on a full-court slapper to make it 4-3.. All of a sudden it was a 1 Goal Game with the momentum fully in Team Harris’ possession..  With 5 minutes to go, Ben Cohen tied it up for Team Harris and it was once again anyone’s taking for the Championship..  The clock kept ticking away and neither Team could get a go-ahead goal.. A few close encounters to close Regulation but Game 3 was headed to OT just like Game 2.

So it all came down to this.. The next Goal would decide the Championship.. A minute into the OT session Captain Mike Kowalczyk had an open shot from the same place he won Game 2 but this time was turned away!  The ball flew the the right side of the rink and was deflected cross-court about chest-high.. The ball would come back to Captain Mike who this time would not be denied and buried the Championship Winning-Goal for Team Kowalczyk! As you can see in the video in both real time and slow-mo, this was extremely close to being a high-stick.. A true 50/50 call in every sense.. Both Teams really deserved this but only one could go home with the Crown.. That would be Team Kowalczyk on this day.

For Team Harris, it was of course a heart-breaking way to end their run in the first season of the Floor Hockey League. That being said, they were the Runners-Up in an extremely talented League and will be instant title favorites coming into next Spring. They literally were one bounce away on many instances from holding the Crown and it was a pleasure watching them play all season. They will be back and be even hungrier next season!

To the Champs.. What a day.. They clawed back on so many occasions and showed the heart of a champion.  These guys earned this Championship and it will be a Series that will be remembered years from now.. Congratulations!  Half of this group had to cut the celebration short as they had the Kickball Championship to worry about.. More on that to below..


Kickball Playoffs

ELIMINATION GAME: 2. Team FGK Services Inc. v. 4. Team popchips – 2. Team FGK Services 12-3

Winner would head to the Championship where they’d need to defeat #1 Team Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. 2x.. First things first.. Have to get there.. These two Teams tangled in a Playoff battle last week when 4. Team popchips upset the higher seeded #2 Team FGK Services..

Both Teams were without some of their mainstays… This week it was a 180 from last week, and Team FGK Services got some retribution! Led by Matt Howard on the mound Team FGK demonstrated some great Defense en route to getting to the Championship Game!

For Team popchips — they showcased during the first week of the Playoffs that they were true contenders for the Crown and even though they came up a little short they should be proud! They won not one but two Playoff Games this season — a feat that Teams in any All Sports Series League would be proud of. Captain Emily’s crew was a great addition to the Kickball League and we hope to seem them back at it soon! Thanks for playing!


KICKBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: 1. Team Chicago Trolley v. 2. Team FGK Services – 1. Team Chicago Trolley 12-11

Just to remind everyone of a few things.. To win the Championship 1. Team Chicago Trolley needed to win just 1 Game and 2. Team FGK Services would need to win TWO in a row..  Team Chicago Trolley had not yet lost in the Double Elimination Playoffs.. To add to the intrigue however, much of 1. Team Chicago Trolly had just gone through the grueling Floor Hockey Championship Series which included 3 Games and 4 OT sessions.. They came out on top but they were certainly gassed.. Would 2. Team FGK Services be able to take advantage?

At first.. Yes.. Team FGK came up to the plate first and grabbed hold of the first lead of the Championship. From there both Teams traded the lead back and forth..  The Offense was ahead of the Defense in this one as the scores headed toward double digits on both sides.. As we sped ahead to the Top of 9th.. #1 Team Chicago Trolley took the field with a 2 run lead.. 3 outs a way from the Championship.. Team FGK Services would just not go away and managed to tie the game at 11 before going to the Bottom of the 9th!  Could #1 Team Chicago Trolley get the Game Winning Run across?  Yes, they could!  Cindy Klarman slid into home and the Championship was won by 1. Team Chicago Trolley! 

Got to give your hats off to Team FGK Services who fought valiantly both during the Regular Season and the Playoffs. Thanks for playing!

To the Champs.. The gentlemen on this Team just did something that no one else has ever done! They won 2 All Sports Series Championships in one day!  That will certainly go down in the history books! They of course wouldn’t be in this position without the help of the females on their Team who were solid all season long.  This group went wire to wire in first and truly earned their Crown. Congratulations!

That’s it for the Chicago Spring Leagues. Thanks to everyone for playing and hopefully see you either this Summer or next Spring!

– Holden