Wolves edge Petes in tight-checking championship game
The Steve Richey Memorial Tournament of Champions took place from Jan. 19 – 22, with 20 teams taking part in the U16 age bracket. Four divisions of five teams were divided into round-robin matches before playoff seeding was determined. The Central Ontario Wolves took advantage of timely scoring, tight defense and near-perfect goaltending en route to a 6-0-0 run.
The Wolves were placed in the Foster Division, along with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires, Guelph Jr. Gryphons, Richmond Hill Coyotes and Oakville Rangers. After kicking off the tournament with a 5-3 victory over Guelph, they rattled off three more wins to end the round robin 4-0-0. Setting the stage for a playoff opener against No. 7 London Jr. Knights, who ended up atop the Hayton Division at 4-0-0.
In a spirited affair, both sides would trade goals before regulation ended in a 4-4 tie. Overtime was required to determine a winner. Carson Cameron netted his second goal of the game in the extra frame, pushing the Wolves into the championship game against No. 24 Peterborough Petes.
Blazing a solid trail of their own, the Petes reached the playoff stages after defeating all of their opponents in the Riley Stillman Division. Josh Avery’s two goals propelled Peterborough over the No. 22 Southern Tier Admirals 3-1.
While many expected a high-scoring, goal extravaganza in the championship matchup, proceedings were much more subdued. The first two periods would be all about the goalies, with the Petes’ Masen Johnston and Ontario’s Nathan Hunter trading save after save. It wasn’t until Van Pereira netted his second goal of the tournament in the third period that would give the Wolves the advantage they needed to secure the win.
Pereira’s goal might have been the biggest of the entire tournament for Ontario. However, most of the heavy lifting offensively was done by Seth Goble (4G, 7A), James McMurray (2G, 6A) and Francis Parish (4G, 4A).
Hunter, Campbell serve as kings of the crease
Not enough can be said about the dependability of Nathan Hunter and Madison Campbell between the pipes for Central Ontario. Both were integral pieces of the club’s championship run, shutting down powerhouse attacks from some of the best ranked teams in the World Rankings.
Suiting up in five games, Hunter only had nine pucks get past him, garnering a 2.39 goals-against average with two shutouts. Campbell only saw action in one game, a 6-1 victory against Oakville. From that one appearance, he collected a 1.33 goals-against average.
Together the duo combined with the strong defense in front of them to achieve the second-best goal differential of any club in their age group, plus-20. The Wolves only allowed 10 goals total across six games.
Waterloo Wolves nab U18 crown
The Steve Richey Tournament also had a U18 bracket of 33 teams split among eight divisions. Backstopped by goaltender Colby Booth-Housego, the Waterloo Wolves emerged as champions after a 4-2 defeat of the Ajax-Pickering Raiders.
Across six games — including the final bout — Booth-Housego compiled a 1.30 goals-against average with one shutout. He was also named tournament MVP. While Booth-Housego was stopping pucks, Joe Brehmer and Isaaz Lorentz were taking on the duties of filling them. Brehmer’s five goals and eight points led the Wolves, with Lorentz’s four goals and seven points just behind. Lorentz nabbed his final goal to secure the victory over the Raiders late in the third period.
Charlie Hilton of the Oshawa Generals led all U18 skaters with five goals and 10 points.