The Patty Cup is Here!
For the Patrick Cup Championship weekend, 3ICE is heading to the city where they kicked off the season– Las Vegas, NV. The four qualified teams will be back in familiar territory on Saturday at 4 PM EST at Orleans Arena where they will compete for $1 million in prize money and to be the first team ever to hoist the Patty Cup.
Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Bryan Trottier, and John LeClair all have a championship nature surrounding them as each of them has hoisted the Stanley Cup throughout their NHL careers. Another aspect of their careers that the four coaches share is that they’ve all been a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The four lucky teams have all faced each other at least once during the regular season, which adds to the intensity and energy that the players will bring to the ice on Saturday. Here is a breakdown of the two semifinal games …
Team Mullen v. Team Murphy
Team Mullen and Team Murphy will take part in the first semifinal game as Team Mullen was the #1 seed and Team Murphy was #4.
The two teams have faced each other six times throughout the regular season and the first time they met happened to be in 3ICE’s opening weekend in Vegas. They played each other in the first round where Team Murphy won 6-5 in OT, but Mullen advanced as the losing team with the most goals scored. It wouldn’t be long until the two teams met again as they took the ice in Vegas for a second time, but this time it in the final round where Team Mullen came out on top with a 7-1 win.
“We've got the team that's I guess probably the favorite in the sense in the first game in Mullen, which is obviously going to be a hard game,” Eamon McAdam of Team Murphy said. “But it'll be good to get them out of the way first and hopefully we can take care of business that first game and then focus on the next game as it comes.
There was then a stretch of a few weeks before they met again in Week 4’s final in Hershey, PA where Team Mullen came out on top again with a 5-1 win. The two groups would then face each other in the final three weeks of the season; in the Week 6 semifinals in Pittsburgh where Team Murphy won 4-0, Week 7’s first round in Quebec City where Team Murphy won 7-4 but just like the first week, Team Mullen advanced and the two would meet again right away in the semifinals where Mullen won 5-3. And just two weeks ago, they met in Week 8’s semifinals in Nashville where Team Mullen took the 4-1 victory.
“As far as it pertains to playing out in Vegas, I don't think we need to really change a whole lot as a team,” Pete MacArthur of Team Mullen said. “I think we need to do more of the same just with a bit more intensity.”
Will this be the week where Team Murphy, who is still in search of their first weekend championship title, defeats Team Mullen so they can earn their first championship win in the most important weekend of the season?
Team Trottier v. Team LeClair
Team Trottier and Team LeClair will take part in the second semifinal game as Team Trottier was the #2 seed and Team LeClair was #3.
While these two teams didn’t meet as much as the teams in the first semifinal game, they met twice and went 1-1 in those two games.
Coach Bryan Trottier shared that his team is excited and eager to take the ice in Vegas.
“The team is prepped and focused like never before,” Trottier said. “All systems are a go!!!”
Team Trottier and Team LeClair met at center ice for the first time in Week 2’s semifinals in Denver. In an exciting game, Team Trottier ultimately came away with the victory in overtime with a final score of 5-4.
The second and final time they met during the regular season was in London, ON. The two battled for a spot in the semifinals during 18 minutes of play in the opening round, and Team LeClair dominated the ice and came out on top with a 9-4 win.
“Obviously, it's a big deal,” Cam Brown of Team Trottier said. “We're happy where we finished in second, but we want to finish this thing, execute, and win at all.”
Will this be the weekend where Team LeClair, who is also in search of their first weekend win, defeat Team Trottier to have a shot at becoming the first season-champions of 3ICE?
Now, it’s a fresh sheet of ice in Vegas regardless of how many times the four teams have faced their opening-round opponents. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for this moment they’ve all been eagerly waiting for, and the time has finally come for one team to make 3ICE history.
“Everybody's obviously taking it really seriously, but at the same time, we're going to go out there and have fun just like we have every other week,” Dalton Skelly of Team LeClair said.