I complained about this last year when a game finished 18-1. It’s now gone a step nuttier. This morning an Alberta U16 girls team beat the U16 rep from the Yukon 21-0.
How and why does this happen? Well, when you make groups of three with two strong teams and a very weak team and tell them
that only one will advance to the semi-finals, it doesn’t take them long to figure out that if the two strong teams tie each other, it comes down to goal difference to decide who goes through UPDATE: I’m not sure if this makes it much better but I see now that the top two teams in each group of three go forward to a quarter final round while the third place teams all meet in another round robin. If this is the case then it must have been clear to the Alberta team that goal difference was of no consequence…yet they felt the need to fill the net 21 times. The only advantage first place gives you is that you get to place a second place team from another group in the quarter finals.
As some of you can see from the link above, Richmond’s own Red Hot Selects, coached by occasional MMCB commentor Clive Clark is the other team in this group. They play Yukon tomorrow and know that unless they at least match the 21 goals that Alberta put on the board today, Alberta can play for a tie and go through while they will be out. Those girls didn’t travel to Lethbridge to go out on goal difference so they’re put in the position of having to inflict another beating on the Yukon.
There simply has to be a prelim round for this tournament. Let the champions from weaker provinces and territories play against each other with the winner advancing to play against the other provinces. These blowouts do no one any good.
A second solution is to cap goal differences at five. Seed the teams heading in based on historical records so that you have a very good chance of being able to schedule the two teams most likely to advance to play each other last. If they are tied at the end of their games (on points and goal difference based on the five goal cap), have them either play a mini game or go to penalties. Not the most elegant solution but is there a worse solution than setting up a group of kids for two games where their opponents are racing to score as many goals as possible against them after coming 2500km to play.
UPDATE: it gets worse in the U14 boy division. Ontario beat Yukon 22-0 while BC beat NWT 19-0.