MARLO STANFIELD Special to The Standard
The Central Ontario Wolves ‘AAA’ Major Midgets were howling with joy, on the weekend after they roared to victory, in the 5th annual International Major Midget Prospect Tournament, hosted by the Toronto Titans.
Throughout the four days of competition, the Wolves showed tremendous tenacity, as they clawed their way through the field, grinding out several one-goal wins, on their undefeated run to the tournament title, with a climactic 1-0 shootout win in the finals, over the Mississauga Rebels.
“I’m extremely happy with our compete level and the relentless pursuit from our entire team,” said head coach Brad Bricknell. “Our team has been able to come together quickly, and it sure showed over the weekend. We had a lot of great performances, throughout our line-up.”
The Wolves rolled into the competition, after skating to a win in their ETA home opener. In a rematch from last season’s playoffs, the Wolves downed the Markham Waxers 3-0, at The Den in Scugog Arena, on Tuesday, Sept. 20th. Odin McGee picked up the shutout, with Sebastian Geraci chipping in with a three-point evening.
On Thursday, Sept. 22nd, the Wolves opened tournament play with a 2-1 win, against the Halton Hurricanes. Goals from Brett Benham and Jacob Traynor provided all of the offence the Wolves would need, with McGee making several timely saves to preserve the win.
On Friday, the Wolves were able to maintain their perfect record, wrapping up back-to-back wins, over the Kitchener Rangers and the host Titans.
The Wolves wrapped up round robin play, with an undefeated 3-0-1 record, on Saturday afternoon, following a 1-1 tie against the Markham Majors.
Moving onto the round of 16, the Wolves continued to show their tenacity, with a 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, with the winning goal coming from Brandon Benham.
The quarterfinals guaranteed that a Wolves team would be moving on, with Central Ontario matched up against the, Sudbury Nickel Capital, Wolves, host of this season’s Telus Cup National Championship tournament.
Kyle Burnett continued his strong play in net, as he turned aside several outstanding chances by Sudbury, to preserve a win, behind goals from Geraci, Brett Benham and Alex Bourre.
The London Jr. Knights loomed in the semi-finals. Throughout the game, both sides showcased tremendous defensive zone coverage, with McGee out-duelling his counterpart in the London crease, to pick up the shut-out, as Brett Benham netted the lone goal, early in the third period of a 1-0 Wolves’ win.
The hard fought win punched Central Ontario’s ticket to the championship game, where the Wolves looked to conclude their remarkable run, with a victory over the Mississauga Rebels. The contest more than lived up to its billing, with both sides submitting sensational defensive performances, with acrobatic saves from Burnett, throughout the game for Central Ontario. Finally, after three periods of regulation and overtime had solved nothing, Bourre provided the Wolves’ with a fantastic finish, netting the winning shootout goal, to give Central Ontario gold medals, at one of the premier events on the Major Midget hockey calendar.
Following a home-and-home with Whitby this week, Central Ontario will be back in action, at The Den in Scugog Arena, on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd, at 7 p.m., when they tangle with the Oshawa Minor Generals.
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