Chris Spracklen stepped off the plane Saturday morning in Pasco.
After seven months in Kuwait, it was good to be home, but before the family reunion could begin, the Kennewick native had a little business to take care of at the hockey rink.
Spracklen, his brother Joey, friend Seth Compton and others pulled on sweaters for C.A. Sales and beat T4L Ironmen 3-2 in overtime for the Clark Cup title Sunday at Toyota Arena.
“This was rough,” said Spracklen, who is home on a three-week leave. “It took a few shifts to get the wheels going again.”
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Part of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Collins, Colo., Chris Spracklen said it was an honor to play in the tournament named for one of his friends — Brian Clark, who was killed in an car accident in 2006.
“The best part of summer is everyone comes back for this,” Spracklen said of the tournament, now in its eighth year. “You get to hang out with your buddies. There are a lot of laughs, a lot of drinks and a lot of memories. This is the Stanley Cup of beer league hockey.”
C.A. Sales, which was held scoreless by T4L Ironmen goalie Bryce Fink for the first two periods of the game, scored twice in a 2-minute span in the third as Sean Compton banked a shot in the net off an opposing defenseman’s skate, and Chris Bruton scored off a feed from Derek Ryan for a 2-1 lead at 5:30.
C.A. Sales looked to have the title in hand as the game had less than a minute remaining, but T4L’s Tyler Dunn found a loose puck and put it past Joey Spracklen with 37 seconds remaining to force overtime. Bruton redirected a shot past Fink just 2:05 into overtime for the win.
Bruton and Ryan, who are former Spokane Chiefs, were recruited by former Spokane teammate Seth Compton for the tournament.
“We had the Spokane Chiefs line out there,” said Compton, a West Richland native. “We played three seasons together up there. It was fun to reunite. It’s nice to play with guys who are still playing.”
Banana Hammocks 8, Misfits 4; C.A. Sales 4, Bulldogs 3 (OT); T4L Ironmen 12, Smitty’s 2; HSHC 11, Iron Horse Brewery 2.
Misfits 11, Smitty’s 2; C.A. Sales 5, HSHC 2; Iron Horse Brewery 4, Bulldogs 3; Banana Hammocks 14, Smitty’s 2; T4L Ironmen 8, Banana Hammocks 3; HSHC 9, Bulldogs 1; T4L Ironmen 4,Misfits 2; C.A. Sales 8, Iron Horse Brewery 3.
Semifinals — C.A. Sales 3, Banana Hammocks 1; T4L Ironmen 4, HSHC 3.
Championship — C.A. Sales 3, T4L Ironmen 2 (OT)