Dumfries – Kingston Cobras retained their title, winning the Dave Webster Memorial Tournament 2015 beat Paisley Blackhawks 2-0 in a closely contested final.
The annual tournament hosted by Dumfries Demons, changed from format this year. The traditional seven team round robin system was replaced by two groups of five teams, meaning Cobras would be facing some new opposition.
Kingston being in Group A saw them matched up with Group B sides. They would face hosts Dumfries Demons, local rivals Grimsby Lightning, new teams Glasgow Chiefs and Irvine Flyers. As well as Altrincham Blackbears, the side they faced in last years final.
Game one of the tournament saw Cobras face Dumfries Demons. The hosts opened the scoring with their second shot of the game to put the defending champions on the back foot. Kingston responded quickly with captain Gowan Beddoes pulling things level.
With just over 9 minutes remaining Dumfries were back on top with a well placed shot from the blue line, deflecting off a Cobras skate on the way through. Once again Cobras responded quickly, Beddoes once again being the go to guy, swatting the puck out of the air after the Demons netminder had spilled a shot from Gavin Tidy.
It looked as though the game would end 2-2, as the fixture had ended in 2014. Jay Robinson had other ideas though firing home from the slot with barely 9 seconds left on the clock.
Glasgow Chiefs would be Cobras second opponent of the day. Following some early exchanges Glasgow took the early lead with 7 minutes on the clock. A shot from the slot that was blocked by Andy Daintith wrong footing Hudson in the Kingston net. Beddoes added his 3rd of the weekend to tie things up on the powerplay after 10 minutes. Cobras then took the lead on 18 minutes with Robinson firing in his second of the tournament with a hard shot from the blue line. With Cobras Chris Lister in the penalty box with 3 minutes to go, Glasgow battled hard and scored the equaliser to leave honours even at the end of the game.
The final game on Saturday saw a repeat of the 2014 final, as Kingston were matched up against Altrincham Blackbears. The game was open and fast paced with chances for both sides. Cobras drew first blood and were quickly two goals to the good inside 15 minutes. With tired legs and running into penalty trouble Cobras found themselves dumping the puck trying to close the game out. Blackbears picked up a goal on the powerplay to leave a nervy finish.
With another Cobras playing sitting in the penalty box, Blackbears fired home to level things up 2-2 with 2 minutes on the clock, despite Kingston’s protest that the net had come off its pegs.
Cobras would end the day with 1 win and 2 draws.
The opening game on Sunday would see Cobras face Irvine Flyers for the first time at Dumfries. The early start meant both teams seemed lethargic, before Irvine took the initiative going 1-0 up. Irvine’s goal woke Cobras from their slumber, however a combination of bad luck with cross bars and posts and some excellent netminding from the Irvine goaltender resigned Cobras to their first defeat of the tournament.
Cobras loss and earlier dropped points meant they had to win their last game vs local rivals Grimsby Lightning to have any chance of making the semi-finals.
The game started with chances for both sides, however both netminders denied any early chances. With six minutes on the clock Cobras took the lead, Jay Robinson firing in another long range effort, taking the Grimsby netminder by surprise. Grimsby’s frustrations saw them take two penalties in quick succession giving Kingston a 5 on 3 powerplay. Beddoes extended Cobras lead to 2-0 following some neat work by Gennery and Robinson. Further goals came from Gennery (2), Beddoes (2) and Robinson (1) to give Kingston their most comprehensive win of the tournament 7-0.
Earlier results meant Cobras had to rely on other results to confirm their semi-final place. The wait for semi-final confirmation came down to the last game of the day, Grimsby defeating Newcastle meant that Cobras had qualified in second position on goal difference and would face Group B winners Irvine in the semi-finals.
Irvine Flyers had earlier in the day been the only side to getter the better of the defending champions winning a tight game 1-0. Cobras drew first blood with Pete Gennery finishing on the rebound from a Jay Robinson shot with two minutes on the clock.
Irvine however were quick to respond, a well worked face-off and some poor point man coverage from Cobras gave the Flyer’s blueliner an open lane to fire home the equaliser.
An excellent keep in at the blue line saw Cobras D man Tom Brierly race through on goal, after his initial attempt was denied he fired home a second attempt to put Kingston in front 2-1.
Cobras powerplay secured the go ahead goal with Jay Robinson converting the rebound on Beddoes shot. It would be captain Beddoes who completed the scoring roofing a backhander to cap a fine solo move and finish the scoring at 4-1.
The result meant Kingston would face Paisley Blackhawks in the Final, who had beaten Grimsby Lightning in the earlier semi-final.
The opening exchanges of the final saw Kingston on the back foot as a well drilled Paisley side looked to take the early lead. However Cobras resolve was strong and some excellent netminding from Mike Smith kept the score sheet blank.
After successfully quelling a Paisley powerplay on eight minutes, Cobras began to impose themselves on the game, Gennery and Robinson both going close. With seven minutes remaining in the game, Beddoes quick hands saw him through on goal, only to fire at the Paisley netminders chest. Less than a minute later Gavin Tidy and Rob Brattan combined to send Gennery through on goal. After his initial shot was saved Gennery was first to the rebound to fire Kingston into the lead.
Paisley continued to press for the equaliser and with forty seconds on the clock and an O-zone face off Blackhawks pulled their netminder in favour of the extra attacker. After winning the initial face off an errant Paisley pass landed on the stick of Beddoes, who fired into the empty basket from his own blueline to secure the victory for Cobras. A minor scuffle broke out on the final buzzer as frustrations boiled over for Paisley before both sides lined up and shook hands on what had been a hard, closely fought game.
The victory saw Kingston Cobras crowned Dumfries champions for the second successive year, captain Gowan Beddoes commented, “The guys played well all tournament and we got better as the Sunday wore on. A great weekend was had all round by players and supporters alike.”
Thank you to Dumfries Demons for once again putting on a well organised tournament. We look forward to welcoming you in June.