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U15 99ers beat out Rangers in championship game

Brantford 99er'sU15 99ers beat out Rangers in championship game

Brantford 99ers Blacks captured the U-15 B/BB championship at the 52nd Wayne Gretzky International Hockey Tournament after a 3-2 win over the Oakville Rangers on Friday, December 29, 2023.

The matchup was well balanced throughout the game, with each team challenging the other head on.

99ers player, Nathan Ziotek, works to redirect the puck during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

Brantford took control early in the play, keeping Oakville on their toes, however much of the first period took place in the neutral zone.

While the Rangers later managed to move forward with a few good scoring chances, the team couldn’t make it past 99ers goalie, Jacoby White, until the team’s captain, Ayden Resendes, scored the first goal of the game with 55 seconds left of the first period.

With the score sitting 0-1 the second period kicked off with both teams being forced to keep up the defense.

Brantford 99ers Benjamin Tremblay and Nathan Ziotek close in on Zephan Wong of the Oakville Rangers during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

Around five minutes into the play, Hudson Pierce of the 99ers, with an assist from Noah Beauvais, scored the team’s first goal, leaving the teams tied 1-1.

After several missed scoring chances, Oakville solidified a lead when Nirvan Sandhu scored the team’s second goal of the night with three minutes left of the second stanza.

While the beginning of the third period came with several penalties for Brantford, Noah Beauvais managed to secure a 2-2 tie with six minutes left of the game.

99ers celebrate after Noah Beauvais tied the game 2-2 during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

The teams were feeling the heat, and despite putting their best effort forward, neither were able to secure the winning goal, causing them to play into overtime.

Coaches and families were on the edge of their seats as the 99ers and the Rangers duked it out. While both teams had several close scoring chances, it was Mylz Freeman of the 99ers who secured the winning goal, with an assist from Whittman.

99ers player, Mylz Freeman, gears up to secure the game winning goal during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

After the win, George Ziotek, 99ers Head Coach, said that it was a fantastic game.

“It was so exciting,” he said. “I was on the edge of the bench when they scored, but I must have jumped five feet in the air when it happened. It’s a great way to finish off the week and I’m proud of the boys. They defended our title from last year, so this means a lot to us to repeat that.”

Ziotek noted that this was the first time the team had gone into overtime this year, and that the feeling was nerve-wracking to watch.

“I was really nervous and I could kind of feel my chest pounding. It was the same for all the guys on the bench too, the players were like ‘I can’t watch, I can’t watch,’ and I think it was the same for the rest of the coaches too,” he said. “That was our first overtime this year and it was just super exciting.”

Zephan Wong closes in on 99ers players, Hudson Pierce, during the championship final of the Wayne Gretzky Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2023.

He said he was proud of his team for keeping their head in the game and not giving up.

“You know, we’ve been doing this all season long,” he said. “We may get knocked down and sometimes we fall a little bit behind, but we always find a way to crawl back and those boys never give up on their attitude. It was a fantastic effort and I’m really happy for them.”

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