Top ‘07 prospect Ryan Roobroeck leads province in come-from-behind overtime winner
Team Ontario was crowned as the country’s U16 national champion at the bi-annual 2023 Canada Winter Games. Some late-game heroics from one of the province’s top prospects sparked Ontario to score three unanswered goals, en route to a gold medal.
2007-born Ryan Roobroeck scored a third-period goal, and followed it up with a primary assist on a power-play goal less than three minutes later. Those strikes dug Team Ontario out of a 2-0 deficit, and ultimately, forced overtime in the championship game against Team Saskatchewan. Then, 7:59 into the extra period, it was Matthew Schaefer scoring the game-winning and tournament-clinching goal for Team Ontario.
Ontario’s best get it done at Canada Winter Games
The big names and top prospects showed up at a tournament that featured some of the best 2007-born players in the country.
Projected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming 2023 OHL Priority Selection, Ryan Roobroeck finished the Canada Winter Games with eight points. Five of those points came in the final two games against arguably the toughest competition in the tournament. He posted a hat trick against British Columbia in an 8-5 win in the semifinals. Then, Roobroeck followed that up with a two-point performance in the championship game over Saskatchewan.
He was outdone by teammate William Moore, who finished with nine points. Moore is also projected to go high in the OHL Priority Selection, as are many others from the tournament representing Team Ontario.
Halton Hurricanes defenseman and Team Ontario captain Matthew Schaefer may have helped his draft stock as well. He recorded at least one point in five of six games, including two in the semifinal and the aforementioned overtime winner in the championship.
Jack Ivankovic made 48 saves in the semifinal and stopped 20-of-22 shots faced in the championship. He won all four of his starts for Team Ontario and finished with a 3.15 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
Trio of Toronto Marlboros lead the way for diverse Team Ontario group
As many as 14 different youth hockey organizations were represented by champion Team Ontario at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. William Moore, Jaeden Nelson and Matheas Stark will return to the No. 1 ranked ‘07 team in the country, the Toronto Marlboros. The remaining 17 skaters were a collective from across Ontario’s major leagues like ALLIANCE (four), Greater Toronto Hockey League (five), Hockey Eastern Ontario (six) and Ontario Minor Hockey Association (five).
No. 4 ranked London Jr. Knights were one of five clubs with multiple players to win gold. Ryan Roobroeck and Parker Snelgrove are part of a Jr. Knights team that has won 43 games this season. Forward Nico Addy has spent this season with No. 5 Toronto Jr. Canadiens, while Tyler Hopkins and Matthew Schaefer play for No. 6 Halton Hurricanes. The Southern Tier Admirals and Mississauga Senators — both ranked in the top 10 as well — were represented by Dryden Allen and Jack Ivankovic, respectively as well.
McKenna breaks Canada Winter Games scoring record
Gavin McKenna put on a record-breaking performance for Team Yukon. The first overall pick in the 2022 WHL Draft scored an astounding 31 points in six games. That broke a 28-year-old record of 27 points previously held by Francois Methot. McKenna’s teammate Jase Johnstone was a benefactor of that offensive production as well. The Pacific Coast Hockey Academy forward scored 20 points in as many games. The tandem led all skaters in the tournament by a significant margin.
McKenna will return to his South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) team where they currently sit in third place in the U18 division. The 5-foot-11 forward leads the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) in scoring with 36 goals and 73 points in 25 games this season. He also played in 11 games for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Medicine Hat Tigers; the maximum number of games 2007-born players are eligible to play in ‘22-23. In that stretch, McKenna recorded eight points.
Top performers from the Canada Winter Games
On top of championship runs and record-breaking performances, the 2023 Canada Winter Games featured plenty of other impressive outings from top prospects.
Bishop Kearney Selects forward Ty Peddigrew scored 13 points while representing his home province of Newfoundland & Labrador. His six goals in the tournament tied with Quebec’s Émile Guité and British Columbia’s Benjamin Kindel for third overall.
Goaltender Logan Edmonstone started five of six games for Team Saskatchewan. In the playoff rounds, he stopped 90-of-96 shots to post a .917 save percentage. That was the highest amongst goalies in the tournament.