… cart off Norman Sue Bakery consolation titleBy Frederick HalleyTORONTO, Canada — A mere two years after joining the Ontario Softball Cricket League (OSCL) and an unforgettable debut season when they failed to make any significant impression in the Conference B, GTA Storm have made quite a turnaround in 2016.Still unbeaten in the regular season (20 overs) after 10 games out of the allotted 12, GTA Storm held off a stiff challenge from Enterprise to capture the Norman Sue Bakery-sponsored 15-over Consolation final at the Ashtonbee number two ground last Saturday.GTA Most Valuable Player Winston Forrester collects his award from a member of the Norman Sue Bakery family.Of much significance was the fact that both teams were unbeaten in the 20-over (Conference B) competition, GTA Storm with nine wins and Enterprise 10 prior to last Saturday’s final.It was therefore quite fitting that the winners were not decided until the final delivery of the match, with Enterprise needing six to clinch victory in quest of a challenging 123. That feat, however, eluded Enterprise as Seenarine Singh, in attempting to clear the boundary, was brilliantly caught by Nirad Lall on the deep midwicket boundary for 30, sparking wild celebrations among the GTA players and supporters.The unsung hero in the final was Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) player Winston Forrester. Known more for his batting as an opener for GTA Storm, Forrester was given the task of bowling at 13th and last over of the 15-over affair and responded admirably.After grabbing a wicket in his first over and also limiting the scoring rate, Forrester was asked to defend eight runs in the last over. Six were needed off the last and the rest is now history. He finished with an impressive two for 14 and duly earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for his team.The strong Enterprise outfit, competing in their first season, were always in the hunt for the title with MVP Narine and Neil Singh (20) both hitting two sixes respectively – extras contributed a healthy 28 – but they failed to get over the line in the final over.Earlier, GTA Storm, asked to take first strike, reached 122 for nine in their allotted 15 overs with Nishal Singh 21 (one six and a four) and Loakram Singh 18 (two sixes) being the principal scorers while extras, again in the limelight, totalled 37.Apart from Forrester, two other players from Guyana, Shiv Shiwram (GCC) and Abdul Razack Salim (McGill Superstars) formed part of the GTA Storm squad.Speaking with Chronicle Sport, after the final, an elated Nirad Lall, who serves as the marketing director of the team, disclosed that he’s confident that GTA Storm will also emerge winners of the 20-over tournament and challenged for the Champion of Champions trophy.GTA Storm and Enterprise are scheduled to clash in the final round of the 20-over tournament with both teams already assured of a playoff place.
Junior forward Mark Zengerle was the top returning scorer in the nation from last season but could miss several weeks.[/media-credit]No matter who is on the roster or what the stats sheet says, some teams simply know how to beat another team, time and again.The Wisconsin men’s hockey team (1-4-1, 1-2-1 WCHA) opened its home slate last weekend against precisely that kind of team – Colorado College (5-3-0, 2-0-0) – which always finds a way to best the Badgers.“Sometimes teams just have your number and I have no idea why,” senior forward Ryan Little said. “We’ve struggled with them ever since I’ve been here. If I knew why I would do everything in my power to change it. It’s just how it is right now.”Head coach Mike Eaves was unable to explain the phenomenon, especially given the extreme differences in the way the games played out Friday and Saturday.With plenty of emotion between the rink dedication to former Wisconsin head coach Bob Johnson and the home opener Friday night, the Badgers started out hot, netting two goals in the first period. But with a weak showing in the second, emphasized by a 17-7 difference in shots on goal in favor of CC, the Tigers tied things up 2-2.After a back-and-forth third period, the game went into overtime, where CC ended things quickly, scoring 25 seconds in for the 5-4 game-winner. The Badgers only managed 26 shots on goal to the Tigers’ 39.Saturday night was an entirely different affair. While both teams combined for nine goals in game one of the series, CC goaltender Joe Howe made 33 saves to keep UW off the board. Colorado College netted three goals off 22 shots on goal for a 3-0 game two decision and the series sweep – for the second season in a row.Last year, CC swept UW 4-2, 4-1 at home, and in 2010-11 it ended UW’s postseason run by winning the final two games of a best-of-three series in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The last time the Badgers won a regular season matchup with the Tigers was Jan. 15, 2010, with a 4-0 decision in game one of a series in Colorado Springs, Colo.Bad breaksIf the results weren’t offensive enough for the Badgers, a Mark Zengerle broken finger adds yet another hurdle to the season.The Badgers opened the second period of game two short-handed, as Michael Mersch was serving an interference penalty that carried over from the first period. The top centerman blocked a shot with his hand, ultimately breaking his left index finger. He reportedly knew it was broken the second it happened and will miss four-to-six weeks.The Badgers need to find a way to fill in for Zengerle while he heals simply because it’s a tough blow to their offense. The Rochester, N.Y., native was the top returning scorer in the nation from last season, posting 13 goals and 37 assists in 2011-12 for 50 points and scoring a point in every game this season before the injury.“Losing a guy like Mark is a big impact on the team,” junior forward Tyler Barnes said. “He’s a great player, but we can’t worry about what we could or couldn’t do without him. He’s out for now.”“If we want to make a blanket statement, it makes it more difficult for us to score goals than it has been,” Eaves said. “… There’s going to be a hole there for a while.”Size mattersWhile Wisconsin didn’t give a consistent performance against Colorado College, that inconsistency was most noticeable in Friday night’s 5-4 overtime loss. With a strong first period, the Badgers didn’t keep up the pressure in the second and barely kept it up in the third.Eaves is not one to make excuses, but he did point out the Badgers’ unfamiliarity with their own home rink in game one’s postgame press conference, noting they have not played on the Bob Johnson Rink regularly since September and instead practice at the adjacent LaBahn Arena – their new practice rink.“I wouldn’t say that’s an excuse whatsoever,” sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe said. “Granted there is seven more feet on the width of the ice sheet but … our systems have to adapt to the different dimensions of the rink and we can’t use that as an excuse.”Follow Kelly on Twitter