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Cambridge Hawks swoop in for U18 championship title

Brantford 99er'sCambridge Hawks swoop in for U18 championship title

The Cambridge Hawks defeated the Brantford 99ers 6-2 to capture the U-18 crown at the Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

99ers Nolan Waring keeps up the team’s defense during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

The 99ers started off strong by winning the opening faceoff, however, it didn’t take long for the Hawks to regain control.

While both teams put up a good fight, neither could secure a goal by the end of the first period.  

99ers goalie, Cullen Goobie, prepares to block the puck during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

Heading into the second, despite the 99ers best effort, it was the Hawks’ Owen Pittman, with an assist from Caleb Van Leeuwen, who scored the first goal of the game just two minutes in.

The majority of the second play took place in the neutral zone, with both teams struggling to maintain dominance for long and they each received two penalties.

Brantford 99ers race to keep up with Cambridge Hawks player Zach Falk during the U18 B/BB championship game of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

With under six minutes left, Justin Vandevelde of the Hawks, managed to score on the powerplay and the period ended with a 2-0 lead for Cambridge.

Tensions were high going into the third but the Hawks were sure to utilize their confidence and just 12 seconds into the play, Ben Hedges scored the third goal of the game.

Not willing to back down, Joey Hesmer of the 99ers, scored his own goal just moments later with an assist from Logan Swayze, bringing the board 3-1.

The Cambridge Hawks celebrate their third goal during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

Things were looking up for the hometown team when Matthew McGlaughlin, with an assist from Cole Perkins, managed to score the team’s second goal.

However, minutes later, the Hawks solidified their lead when Kevin Marriott brought the score to 4-2.

The last five minutes became increasingly more tense when the Hawks scored another two goals just one minute apart and several fights broke out, causing a host of penalties for both teams.

As time ran out and the buzzer went off, the Cambridge Hawks celebrated their 6-2 win.

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