Down, but not out.
The 15th edition of the GTHL Midget All-Star Festival saw teams overcome a deficit of at least one goal to win in all three contests, including multi-goal comebacks in the A and AAA games. The AA matchup required a shootout after the two teams traded goals in the final minute of regulation.
The dramatic finishes continued the “never say never” trend that highlighted last year’s event.
MIDGET A ALL-STAR GAME
Team White 6, Team Blue 5
With the game scoreless late in the first period, forward Oliver Strasser (North Toronto) capitalized on a turnover to help Team Blue open the scoring. Team White tied the score early in the second period, but Team Blue pulled ahead 3-1 with goals from Jack Niven (West Hill Golden Hawks) and Ethan Casey (Ted Reeve Thunder).
Team White didn’t take long to respond as forward Cameron Kless converted twice in a span of 20 seconds on two nearly identical odd-man rushes with Vaughan Rangers teammate Brandon Cooper.
Team Blue regained their two-goal lead before the end of the middle frame, however, on goals by Colin Boone (Thunder) and Cyle Ropson (Scarborough Young Bruins).
Team White went on to score three unanswered goals in the third period, including the tying marker by Nicholas Bendici (Vaughan Panthers) with less than five minutes remaining in regulation and then the winning tally by Matthew Bianco (Amesbury Attack) with 2:56 left on the clock.
Team White MVP – Brandon Cooper (Vaughan Rangers)
Team Blue MVP – Oliver Strasser (North Toronto)
Team Blue GOAL (17:12) – Oliver Strasser assisted by Paul Ananiadis
Team White GOAL (1:36) – Vincent Vigilanti assisted by Brandon Cooper
Team Blue GOAL (6:17) – Jack Niven assisted by Matias Piccione and Otis Abbott
Team Blue GOAL (9:11) – Ethan Casey
Team White GOAL (11:16) – Cameron Kless assisted by Brandon Cooper
Team White GOAL (11:36) – Cameron Kless assisted by Brandon Cooper
Team Blue GOAL (13:32) – Colin Boone assisted by Mitchell Sarjeant
Team Blue GOAL (15:43) – Cyle Ropson assisted by Kurtis Rauch and George Waddell
Team White GOAL (5:31) – Peter Portanova assisted by Robert Christofaro
Team White GOAL (15:39) – Nicholas Bendici assisted by Robert Christofaro and Peter Portanova (PPG)
Team White GOAL (17:04) – Matthew Bianco assisted by Brandon Power and Angelo Sfyndilis
MIDGET AAA ALL-STAR GAME
Team White 3, Team Blue 2
Defenceman Mitchell Luzar (Don Mills Flyers) and forward Allister O’Hagan (Toronto Young Nationals) combined to give Team Blue a 2-0 lead, but forward Jaden Peca (Toronto Marlboros) factored on three unanswered goals to rally Team White to victory.
Down 2-0 midway through the second period, Peca cut the deficit in half before he notched an assist on the tying goal by his Marlboros teammate Ryan Nicholson with 28 seconds left in the frame.
After rifling his original shot wide of the net, forward Matteo DiGiulio (Toronto Jr. Canadiens) corralled the loose puck and buried the eventual game-winning goal at 3:47 of the third period. Team Blue called a timeout late in the contest but failed to get any pucks past Team White netminder Colton Incze (Marlboros).
Team White MVP – Jaden Peca (Toronto Marlboros)
Team Blue MVP – William Calverley (North York Rangers)
Team Blue GOAL (17:10) – Mitchell Luzar
Team Blue GOAL (6:51) – Allister O’Hagan assisted by Daniel Berno and Liam Gillanders
Team White GOAL (9:33) – Jaden Peca assisted by Matteo DiGiulio and Brett Bannister
Team White GOAL (19:42) – Ryan Nicholson assisted by Jaden Peca and Sebastian Cirillo
Team White GOAL (3:47) – Matteo DiGiulio assisted by Brett Bannister and Jaden Peca
MIDGET AA ALL-STAR GAME
Team Blue 4, Team White 3 (SO)
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Team Blue forward Daniel Bancheri scored 15 seconds into the start of a four-minute power play to even the score. Bancheri slammed home a rebound after Giovanni Mastroianni, his Ice Warriors teammate, executed a perfect spin move to rid himself of a defender and get a shot on goal.
Moments after the equalizer, Team White used a clearing attempt to create a turnover in the offensive zone that led to a shorthanded goal from Jack Bon (Humber Valley Sharks). Team Blue forward Michael Rennie (North York Knights) again tied the game before the end of the second period to set the stage for a dramatic finish.
With less than one minute remaining in regulation, forward Marco Della Siepe scored what figured to be the game-winning goal on the strength of some strong play by linemates (and his Duffield Devils teammates) Alessio Luciani and Jordan Vetro. After taking a timeout and pulling their goaltender, Team Blue responded with a goal from defenseman Thomas Slokar (Ice Warriors) at 19:32 of the third period to force overtime.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime period, Michael Proskas (Markham Islanders) scored in the sixth round of the shootout and Team Blue goaltender Ty Spero (West Mall Lightning) then made a game-clinching stop on Michael Bedarev (Toronto Colts) to seal the victory.
Team Blue MVP – Ty Spero (West Mall Lightning)
Team White MVP – Alessio Luciani (Duffield Devils)
Team White GOAL (16:32) – Noah Walman assisted by Samuel Rowe
Team Blue GOAL (3:57) – Daniel Bancheri assisted by Giovanni Mastroianni (PPG)
Team White GOAL (5:22) – Jack Bon assisted by Conor Varga (SH)
Team Blue GOAL (15:02) – Michael Rennie
Team White GOAL (19:02) – Marco Della Siepe assisted by Alessio Luciani and Jordan Vetro
Team Blue GOAL (19:32) – Thomas Slokar assisted by Matthew Wallace and Giovanni Mastroianni
Team Blue – Michael Rennie (GOAL)
Team White – Alessio Luciani
Team Blue – Daniel Bancheri (GOAL)
Team White – Jack Bon (GOAL)
Team Blue – Giovanni Mastroianni
Team White – Matthew Shuckett (GOAL)
Team Blue – Amedeo Digiovanni
Team White – Andrew Katz
Team Blue – Thomas Slokar (GOAL)
Team White – Marco Della Siepe (GOAL)
Team Blue – Michael Proskas (GOAL)
Team White – Michael Bedarev