Barracudas’ title was a Reilly good feat

There
are rare stories in sports of teams going from last to first place. In Cayman a
legendary side can be added to the discussion in the form of the Barracudas.

Last
week the club cemented an epic post-season run by winning game three of the
best-of-three Cherry Cup. Thanks to a 7-4 win over the Cayman Destination
Management Services Islanders the Barracudas is the 2010 Cherry Cup holder and
official champions of the Westtel Adult Roller Hockey League.

A
big part of that win and the team’s determination to rise above a 3-7 regular
season record was Reilly Novak. The team captain had a goal and an assist in
game three; in fact the score came with one minute and 38 seconds left in the
match. The Canadian forward is still on a high after an epic title run.

“Honestly,
it was one of my most memorable nights here in Cayman,” Novak said. “We had
only been to the finals twice in the last six seasons and both times had the
trophy slip through our fingers. I was beginning to think it just wasn’t meant
to be for our team. So to finally be able to hoist it up over my head and see
all my teammates do the same was truly an amazing feeling and it won’t soon be
forgotten.

“We
started this year appealing for a league reset as the teams were unbalanced. It
was tough to get guys motivated to even show up when we were getting blown out
every game. We managed to win three out of our final four games of the season
and were building confidence heading into the playoffs. Playing last year’s
champions and this year’s top tiered team MEPCO in the first round was like
David fighting Goliath. We knew if we were to have a chance we would have to
stick to our system. We did and it was monumental in upsetting the favourites.
We continued the same type of play in the finals and to finally achieve our
goal of winning was truly a Cinderella story and I consider myself so lucky to
have been able to do it in my last season on island.”

Another
Barracuda player happy to break through and win a title is Colin Wilson. An
avid sportsman in Cayman, Wilson has been in roller hockey for some time bringing
out his inner love for playing hockey. Interestingly the Canadian states he is
happier for his teammates than himself.

“I
actually felt happier for my teammates and was glad I could come along for the
ride,” Wilson. “I know a couple of guys are leaving Cayman and it was their
last chance at putting their name on the cup. I think the biggest thing is that
there is only one Cherry Cup and if the tradition continues you can come back
to Cayman years from now and see the cup in a display case with your name on it
and reminisce about a small bit of history.”

Novak,
who is set to depart for Canada in the coming weeks, said the defining trait of
the team will be its solid mix of proven and unproven talents.

“My
teammates were amazing this year, we had three different goalies that all
stepped up and Jeremy Olynik shined for us in the playoffs. Our defence and
veteran core of Jeff Danter, Patrick Agemian and Jason Windsor were instrumental
and new player Eric Lacasse added a new dimension with great offensive skills
from the backside. Our youngest player Brad Galbraith, 17, led our team in
points this season and really came into his own. Fareed Hosein and Mark
Thompson showed dedication as they played injured for most of the season plus
Chris Anton and Colin Wilson really elevated their play.

“I’m
sure many times this season our guys didn’t want to hear what I had to say
about improving our play, but in the end they were very receptive and I’m very
grateful to them for that. The memories of playing in this league will stick
with me for a lifetime and will truly be one of the highlights of my time spent
here.”

A
handful on the ice for his presence and physical play, Wilson also gave
Galbraith props while insisting a solid game plan made all the difference.

“We
stuck to the game plan that Reilly set out before the playoffs, namely put
pressure on the puck carrier, forwards have to hustle back to help the defence,
dump the puck if you have no outlet pass and take lots of shots with traffic in
front,” Wilson said. “Other than Jeff Danter scoring three goals the real
unsung hero was Brad. Being the smallest player on our team he was getting hit
and pushed around out there but he always bit his lip and got back into the
play. We’ll get him in the weight room in the off season.”

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