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Canada Takes Cup in 3rd Annual Classics Cup Series

By Phillip Goodman

April 15, 2024

Team Canada edged out Team USA to take a 2-1 series lead in the Third Annual US-'Eh Classics Cup presented by Reno Tattoo Removal and Advanced Asphalt. The northern neighbors took game one in the fifth round of a shootout for a 2-1 Friday win and fought off a late American push for a 4-3 Saturday win in front of standing room only crowds at Reno Ice.

The series was a benefit for The JUSTin HOPE Foundation. The JUSTin HOPE Foundation is more than just an organization; they are a team dedicated to empowering families and individuals in our community with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through their programs and initiatives, Justin HOPE offers support, opportunities, and a sense of empowerment to those they serve.

For the third year in a row, Reno Ice generously matched donations for the JUSTin HOPE Foundation, and Reno Ice youth coach Dan Rowan and Reno Ice Board Member Joel Grace presented a check for $5,000 to Justin Retiz and Art Reitz. Representing Scheels in Sparks, Assistant Store Manager Chris Adgett and Community Marketing Manager Amy Adams also gifted a $5,000 check to JUSTin HOPE. In total, $11,228 was raised for a well-deserving cause.

"We are profoundly grateful to be beneficiaries once again of the Third Annual US-'Eh Classic Cup charity game," Maricela Gutierrez Rodriguez, Executive Director of JUSTin HOPE Foundation. "The ongoing support fuels our mission of empowerment and inclusion. Your generosity inspires us to strive for greater impact and brighter futures for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community. Thank you for making a difference with your kindness and compassion. Together, we are truly changing lives!"

Chris O'Neal tallied the lone goal for Team USA with 3:37 left in the first period, assisted by Garrett Sliger. Most of the first period was tight-checking and fast paced with very few stoppages and USA took a 1-0 to the break. 

The second was much like the first until with 4:47 to go Dan Rowan's one-timer from Geoff Liska tied the tilt. Moments after Rowan's goal for The Provinces, The States almost reclaimed the lead but Canadian netminder Blaine Bugg made an incredible spinning glove save to keep it tied going to the third period.

Period three was more back-and-forth intensity and neither country ceded any ground.

Tied at the regulation, game one would be decided in a five-round shootout.

Andrew Peterson and Garrett Sliger scored in the first two rounds for Team USA. Dan Rowan and Charlie Montgomery answered to tie the shootout in rounds two and three. Ryan Terpsma beat USA goalie Adam Lain in round five and Bugg made the final save on Owen May to secure the win for Team Canada.

There were no penalties assessed in game one and none needed to be. Both teams played fairly and with discipline even during many loose puck battles as every inch of ground through any zone was difficult to gain.

"It was a fast game against two well-balanced teams," said USA Captain John Beug. "There were lots of opportunities. Goalies played great, everyone played great. Hopefully [on Saturday] the puck bounces in the USA's favor."

Canada Captain Dan Rowan echoed Beug's assessment.

"I thought it was a hard fought battle," said Rowan. "Goalies played well. The boys worked hard and everyone was having a great time out there. It went down to the shootout and we barely pulled it out."

On Saturday, Canada struck on the very first shift. Kevin Gardiner and Ryan Shmyr set up Al Lawrence only 34 seconds into the contest. Canada took the 1-0 lead into the first break. 

Canada pushed the lead to 2-0 two minutes into the second on an Adrian Nicholas goal assisted by Chad Peters. USA responded two minutes later with a Garrett Sliger wrister assisted by Kevin Sunde.

With Beug in the box for slashing, the only penalty called all weekend, Adrian Nicholas' power play goal assisted by Ryan Terpsma and Carson Terpsma put Canada back on top 3-1.

America fought back a minute later on goals by Joe Colacurcio and Sliger's second of the night. Matt Van Ness assisted on both goals, plus Sliger helped on "Cola's" and Sunde aided Sliger's.

The 3-3 tie held through most of the third period until Al Lawrence was sprung on a breakaway by a long outlet from Kevin Gardiner. Lawrence's wrister trickled through Lain for the go ahead goal with 6:30 left.

With 1:42 remaining, Coach Scott Peterson pulled Lain for the extra attacker but the stifling Canadian defense shut the door for the series win.

Saturday's event was part of Reno's Ice first ever Hockey Day in Reno. Hockey lovers were invited to play ball hockey in the parking lot, visit with our local firefighters and police, grab a bite from a variety of food trucks. 

"It was a great event and we were very pleased we could help contribute to an amazing cause that is JUSTin Hope," said Team USA player and Reno Ice General Manager Kevin Sunde. "The community engagement was awesome and we were able to almost double the amount we expected to donate."

"I am so proud to be involved with Justin Hope Foundation and the entire Reitz Family," Rowan added. "This event continues to grow year over year and it is because of our amazing community. I'd like to thank Reno Ice for their generous support of the event each year and the numerous volunteers that make it all happen. From a players' standpoint the most enjoyable part of the weekend was Justin's visit to the locker room.  The guys just love seeing him happy and excited to watch and cheer for Team Canada.  Thanks again to everyone involved for making this such a special event to be a part of."

"Justin is thankful to have been an integral part of the event," said Carol Reitz, Justin's mother and owner of Sierra Nevada Chocolates in Midtown Reno.  "He continues to inspire with his line of TOFFEE (The Opportunity For Fundraising, Equity & Empowerment).  This allows individuals and organizations to fundraise for their cause while supporting social and job training skills for persons with disabilities.  We believe every individual is employable and should be given the opportunity to create a meaningful contribution within their community.  He grossed $1,100 in sales for his microenterprise."

For the entire month of April in honor of Autism Acceptance, Awareness and Appreciation month, Sierra Nevada Chocolates is offering one free bag of mouth-watering, buttery Justin's Toffee when you buy two bags.


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