Coming into championship Sunday at the OHL Gold Cup, the two respective GTHL teams were staring down the barrel of different fates but did so with the same goals in mind.
GTHL Team Red experienced success throughout the tournament, going undefeated throughout the preliminaries, but their road was not without its bumps and bruises. The semis saw Team Red take on OMHA White, and despite a disparity in size favoring the OMHA, GTHL Red’s skill shone through as they skated to a 4-2 victory. Championship Sunday featured a rematch with the GTHL taking on OMHA Black – a team they defeated in the round-robin.
The first goal came courtesy of OMHA Black after an awkward bounce eight seconds into the game. Despite the early goal, goaltender Ryan Dugas recomposed himself and was quickly able to fend off OMHA Black for the remainder of the first.
Tied 1-1 in the middle of the second, a low blocker shot from Sarnia Sting prospect Jamieson Rees gave GTHL Red the lead. A power play rocket from Anthony Aguanno preserved the lead and was enough to secure a 3-1 victory for GTHL Red.
“We just tried to shake it off, get back to basics,” said Nicholas Wong when asked about the slow start to the game. The Oshawa Generals prospects added that there were some were some nerves going into the tournament, but by the end of the week the team became tighter both on and off the ice.
The victory by GTHL Red marks the third consecutive OHL Gold Cup championship for the GHTL.
Gold Medal Consolation Recap
For GTHL Blue, a strong preliminary round record of 2-1 wasn’t strong enough, regulating them to the consolation bracket of the tournament playoffs. A convincing 6-1 victory over team NOHA on Saturday secured Blue a spot in Sunday’s Gold Medal Consolation Game, pitting them against Team ALLIANCE.
For a physical affair, neither team backed down from the challenge in front of them. Alliance struck first and second, collecting two goals in the first frame and dictating the possession. GTHL Blue answered the bell in the second when Windsor Spitfires prospect Daniel D’Amico tipped a one-timer from Brandon Coe. Team ALLIANCE nabbed the go-ahead goal in the third, ultimately becoming the game-winner.
Despite the disappointing result for GTHL Blue, the OHL Gold Cup is not one to be measured solely by wins and losses. For Niagara Ice Dogs prospect Philip Tomasino, the whole experience was a lesson in maturity, hard work and individual and team responsibility. When asked if there has been any struggle finding chemistry with these temporary teammates, he was quick to reply, “these guys are good players, when your open they will find you”.