The Northern Ontario Moose closed out Summer 2017 by taking Silver in the highly competitive King of the Rings Midget Championship played at York University.
The Moose were flying in Game 1 by building a 3-0 1st period lead against Stratford on goals from Jacob Fahey, Jaime Wahamaa and Ian Denomme and strong defensive play from Braeden Gobbo. The Moose intensity dropped as they surrendered 4 unanswered goals to lose 4-3 despite stellar goaltending from Game MVP Jacob Steringa.
In Game 2, the GTHL’s PS101 Prospects demonstrated the high caliber of play required to truly compete for the rings. Down 4-1 midway in the 3rd period, the Moose resilient drive returned despite the comeback falling short in losing 4-3. Game MVP Carter Rickertsen was outstanding at both ends of the ice while Kalem Boucher delivered exceptional shut down defense.
Through relentless team-first play, the Moose dominated Game 3 against the Brock Hawks in a 5-1 victory. Landon Thomson was finally rewarded for his consistently strong 2-way play with a pair of tallies while Game MVP Cole Goddard and defenseman Caleb Ranger both delivered solid defensive performances in protecting the Moose zone. Ian Denomme, Josh Boucher and Ryan Fournier each had multi-point games in support of the win.
The Moose drew #2 seeded Stratford in the semi-final. Down 2-0 with 5:29 to play, the Moose took a penalty and exemplified their “no quit” commitment on the PK by holding off a relentless attack before Ian Denomme’s even strength tally with 2:50 remaining. A Stratford penalty with 1:24 to play gave the Moose a window of opportunity. With goalie Jacob Steringa pulled for a 6-on-4 power play, Landon Thomson won two crucial offensive zone face-offs leading to a barrage of scoring chances but not the elusive tying goal. With less than 6 seconds left, Thomson won his third consecutive face-off to sniper Ian Denomme for a quick snap shot. The Moose banged at rebounds multiple times before Ryan Fournier’s last stab at the loose puck hit the sprawled goalie and trickled to the right where Braeden Gobbo celebrated his 16th birthday by jamming in the buzzer beater to force OT. After an outstanding back check by Josh Boucher during the opening shift of 3-on-3 OT, Ian Denomme wheeled up ice and dangled the Stratford defender before burying the game winner 26 seconds into OT. Dramatic win and trip to the Finals aside, success was cemented much earlier with numerous unselfish efforts, shot blocks and a “no quit” attitude. The line of Game MVP Duff Bigelow, Ryan Yeo and Brad Giesler provided shift after shift tenacity and grit in matching Stratford’s speed while Brad Hubley Jr., playing again with a painful forearm injury, and Carter Rickertsen kept opponents at bay as a disciplined defensive force.
In the Final, the Moose faced the GTHL’s powerful PS101 Prospects who did not forget the Game 2 comeback effort and executed a disciplined game plan to neutralize the Moose attack and control puck possession. Despite holding the Prospects to a scoreless 1st period, the Moose could not sustain enough offensive pressure and succumbed to their opponent’s lethal attack in yielding three 2nd period goals. A scoreless 3rd period ended the Moose season with a 3-0 loss but with a hard fought Silver medal in hand.
The Moose roster includes Jacob Steringa, Braeden Gobbo, Brad Hubley Jr., Caleb Ranger, Kalem Boucher, Carter Rickertsen, Cole Goddard, Ryan Yeo, Duff Bigelow, Brad Giesler, Jaime Wahamaa, Jacob Fahey, Landon Thomson, Ian Denomme, Josh Boucher and Ryan Fournier.
Complemented by their outstanding teammates, Moose Co-MVPs for the tournament were Jacob Steringa who was dominant in net and Ian Denomme who led the tourney in points.
The Moose coaches would like to thank the players and parents for another enjoyable season of friendship and smiles combined with some competitive hockey along the way.