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Brantford 99ers defeat Hawks to earn U-13 title

Brantford 99er'sBrantford 99ers defeat Hawks to earn U-13 title

The Brantford 99ers defeated the Cambridge Hawks 2-1 at the 52nd annual Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

99ers Easton Harrison races behind the opponents net during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

The majority of the first period saw both teams working on the defensive, taking turns controlling the puck and fighting back.

Despite a few scoring chances for either team, neither were able to secure a goal by the end of the first.

Cambridge Hawks goalie, Kaden Galvao, dives to save the puck during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

Going into the second, the teams had some trouble leaving the neutral zone but just before the 14-minute mark, Zack Barton of the 99ers, with an assist from Caleb Wright, scored the first goal of the game.

After some close calls on both ends, it was the Hawks’ Zachary Everett, with an assist from Owen Spittal, who secured a tie of 1-1 with just over three minutes left.

Into the third, the two teams displayed their dedication and gameplay skills, both showing off their ability to work with their respective teammates.

99ers goalie, Hudson Delaney, is quick to protect the net during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

With 13:55 minutes left on the clock, it was William Tozer who solidified the 2-1 lead for the young 99ers.

99ers goalie, Hudson Delaney, is quick to protect the net during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

Tensions continued as the teams put their all into the rest of the game, both having several scoring chances on either net and keeping their defenses up throughout.

Despite the Hawks pulling their goalie for extra manpower in the last minute of the game, they were unable to capitalize on the extra body, and it was the 99ers that took home the championship.

99ers player, Sebastian Forde, makes his way towards the empty net during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

When interviewed about the win, Sue Battin, a mother of one of the 99ers boys, said that this was what they needed.

“They needed this, you know? They’ve had a wonderful tournament but there were tough moments so I’m happy for them,” she said.

Tiffany Harrison, another mother, had a similar sentiment.

“I’m so incredibly proud, and it’s just so exciting,” she said. “They’ve worked so hard and I know it means a lot to them. Some of them have played together since they were young and this is really their first championship tournament win, so I think it makes it extra special.”

Jordy McGowan, Head Coach of the 99ers, said that as a coach, he was proud.

The Brantford 99ers celebrate their win during the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament U-13 A championship game on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

“It’s amazing for the kids, and it was really a team effort,” he said. “This win is well deserved for a team who worked so hard. Cambridge played extremely well and so we had to battle for that 2-1 victory, but our kids persevered and won it on their own.”

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