Will Cuylle netted two goals helping propel GTHL Blue past GTHL Red to win the OHL Gold Cup on Sunday by a score of 8-2.
After a long season of battle against each other in league play, the two GTHL contingents at the OHL Gold Cup decided one more game was necessary for ultimate bragging rights heading into the summer. GTHL Blue came into the final with a spotless 3-0 record in round robin play, while GTHL Red notched two wins and an OT loss to OMHA Black.
Unlike the regular season, former GTHL allegiances were cast away as former teammates became temporary enemies. Forward Will Cuylle (Toronto Marlboros) knew what to expect coming into this final game.
“There was lots of tension, walking by each other in the hotel all weekend knowing we might play against each other come Sunday. We both knew it was going to be a physical game”.
And physical it was, the first period proved to be early on. It also featured some high-end skill as well.
GTHL Red’s Ryan O’Rourke (Vaughan Kings) beat goaltender Tristan Lennox (Mississauga Reps) on a power play blast to grab the early lead. Mere minutes later, GTHL Blue found their response on a Dylan Robinson (Toronto Jr. Canadiens) goal off a nice Jake Uberti (Mississauga Reps) feed down the wing.
Stephen Halliday (Toronto Marlboros) would extend Blue’s lead soon after, but Cole Perfetti (Vaughan Kings) would draw Red level on a timely rebound. Blue would retake the lead heading into intermission, courtesy of Cuylle (Toronto Marlboros), who buried his own rebound past goaltender James Gray (Toronto Young Nationals).
The litany of goals would not be replicated in the second frame, as both teams seemed more focused on physical imposing their will on the game. The hits continued to come, accompanied with some key saves by Lennox to maintain his team’s precious lead, including an acrobatic cross-crease save on a two-on-one.
“I just saw the puck go to the middle of the net” admitted Lennox. “It kind of just hit me, but I was there for it.”
Kyle Jackson (Toronto Red Wings) extended Blue’s lead, before Cuylle notched his tournament-leading fifth goal on a beautiful shorthanded effort, beating Gray to a loose puck before slotting it in the empty net.
Blue would add three more goals in the final frame, cruising to an 8-2 final.
“It’s great, there’s lots of history with this cup, so it’s good to get the win,” said an elated Cuylle post-game, a sentiment also shared by all his teammates.
Regardless of the outcome, the weekend was an impressive showcase of the talent within the GTHL and other organizations represented. It was a fitting end to another great season in the books, and another milestone in many players’ hockey careers.
Click here to learn more about the OHL Gold Cup.