A Night to Remember


Date of Game: November 11, 2023


by Ned Braden, Staff Writer

Tokyo Canadians vs. Mitsubishi (Meiji Jingu Arena)

Youth vs. Experience

Speed vs.… Wily veteran grit?

Who would prevail in this war of attrition on the weekend we honored our veterans on Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day across the West to mark the end of the “War to End All Wars”?

Read on to find out.

After a few minutes of probing back and forth, Mitsubishi, in their signature red uni’s, drew first blood. After setting up in the zone with some zippy passes, #77 Mori threaded the needle to #22 for a back door tap-in. 1-0.

That seemed to light a fire on the hosts, several of whom donned classic remembrance poppies against their crisp white jerseys in a pre-game pic for the team’s social media.

The Canadians went on to pot the next two to take a two-goals-to-one lead and restore some dignity. The first goal was a solo effort by the Canadians relative newcomer Ryan Kobayashi, one of the few in White who could match the guests in terms of speed and quickness. Ryan got down low and flipped a backhander high cheese over the Mitsubishi netminder’s glove hand and into the water bottle.

The next goal was hard work in the corner by right winger and converted Swedish defender Hans to get the puck to Koby, who found Noah Honch creeping in from the point to unload a cannon shot into the back of the net. That goal was answered by Mitsubishi – a blue sweatered ringer drafted from NTT -none other than Matsumoto #13- who would go on to claim the Mitsubishi team MVP honors. He would add another tally in the frame, assisted by #31.

Not to be outdone, two TCHC skaters, recently moved to “alumni” status, teamed up on the top line with the centre for white, Chris Colucci, getting on the board after some hard forechecking by linemate Ian Medcalf. Brent “Killer” Carlson got the puck down low, and Medcalf found Colucci on the doorstep for the goal. Another pretty setup from Koby to Canadians blue-liner Noah Honch made the score 4-3 for the hosts at the end of the first frame.

The 2nd period was a bit more subdued affair, with the teams trading two goals apiece: Matsumoto and #00 Murasaki teamed up for a pretty passing play 2-on-1 down low that left the Canadians tender, Tatsumoto, little chance on Murasaki’s first of the game. That goal was followed up up by one from a different #13 – this time in red, Aka-san for his first on a feed from #2 Masuyama to put Mitsubishi up 5-4.

But the TCHC came storming back. Setting up in the offensive zone, Carlson got the puck to Gritty along the right wall, who tapped it on to Colucci, who quickly got it back to the point where Killer wasted no time unloading a bullet into the back of the twine. Moments later, on the same shift, the same strong work ethic from Ian Medcalf paid off with another assist to his centreman Colucci for his 2nd goal and 3rd point of the night to finish that stanza with TCHC White ahead 6-5.

The third picked up very much where White left off, this time with Medcalf lighting the lamp on a setup from Carlson to Colucci to put the Canadians up by two, 7-5. But Mitsubishi put on their display of speed and agility, with a number of odd-man rushes. Timely stick checks from the D helped prevent several of those rushes from getting converted, but the nervous chatter on the bench was all about Mitsubishi’s quick counterattacks and the usual yelling for forwards to backcheck.

On one rush, Canadians D-man Stevie Faulkner, beaten along the far defensive boards, decided to employ a new strategy – giving the opponent a big hug, then raising his arms as if to say, “all’s fair in love and war.”… Eventually, Masuyama teamed up again to feed Aka on a nearly identical 2-on-1 down low and another eerily similar feed again from #13 Matsumoto to #00 Murasaki to knot the score at 7 apiece.

Colucci eventually got his hat trick after his earlier blast from the slot went off Gritty’s stick. He was parked in the crease looking for the tip and angled it just over the goalie’s right shoulder where it clanged off the iron, but Colucci stuck with the play and eventually found twine. Matsumoto then answered with his own tally for a “hatty,” and things were tied again.

The Canadians went down a man when Shu took himself out after blocking a shot. He tried to take another couple of shifts but had trouble skating. Would the Canadians be able to bend but not break?

After Mitsubishi pressed but came up empty-handed, Noah Honch then took the puck from the back end coast to coast in a beautiful piece of individual effort for the go-ahead tally, with Ryan Kobayashi following suit with another solo effort to go up 10-8. White was feeling cautiously optimistic about their chances as the final frame was winding down, but Stevie, possibly feeling shame from his earlier indiscretion, felt he needed to leave early (or maybe it was to catch his last train home; we don’t know).

And sensing an opportunity, the guests weren’t going out without a fight. Mitsubishi dug deep, earning their second hat trick of the came from the other #13, Aka san, who was left alone in the left circle for a one-time blast on a cross-ice feed from the point from #31.

The suspense built from there as the Mitsubishi Reds tied it once again at 10-10 (football score!), with #34 hooking up on a feed from #22 for his 2nd point of the night.

Would it end in a truce? A cease-fire? Or would one side emerge victorious? The answer was provided as both blue-liners teamed up for assists on the game-winning goal – by Chris Colucci – with helpers from Philip Leblanc and Noah Honch, who earned team MVP honors (edging out Colucci, Medcalf and Carlson for their multi-point efforts).

An honorable mention to Canadians’ goalie Tatsu who faced a veritable barrage from the opposing forces in capturing victory.

Final Score: TCHC 11, Mitsubishi Reds 10

Great game everyone, and look forward to seeing you next time!

#icehockey #hockeylife #hockeygram #instahockey #hockeyfamily #tokyo #japan #tchc #YokohamaKeiaiEyeClinic #OUIinc

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Tokyo Canadians #6 Noah Honch scored 3 goals and 1 assist for TCHC vs. Mitsubishi