The U15 AA’s magical run continued in Kingston this weekend as they rolled their way to an OMHA Championship, the first time Guelph has captured the Championship trophy at the U15 AA level.
Guelph opened the tournament with a 4-1 victory over the Lasalle Sabres. On Saturday morning, a last minute goal was the difference as the Newmarket Renegades came from behind to defeat the Gryphons 3-2. With a 1-1 record, the Gryphons headed into their final round robin game on Saturday night against the Belleville Bulls in a do or die situation. As they have constantly done all season long, the Gryphons rose to the occasion and came away with a 3-1 victory which secured them a spot in the playoff round.
Heading into “Socks Up” Final 4 Sunday, the Gryphons squared off against the Barrie Colts, round robin 1st place finishers from Group A. The Gryphons came out flying, quickly building a 3-0 lead in the first period and hanging on for a 6-3 victory, punching their ticket to the final on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s final was a rematch with the Newmarket Renegades.
Newmarket got on the board with 3:26 left in the first period off a quick shot off a faceoff. But with 26 left in the period, Sam Savery spotted Nathan Briggs with a step on the Newmarket defenseman on the far side of the ice and fed him a perfect pass to send Briggs in all alone. Briggs snapped the puck past the Newmarket netminder to get Guelph on the board and tie the game at 1-1.
As would be expected in a championship game, both teams were evenly matched with little room for error. The tie score continued thru the second period and past the ten minute mark of the third. As overtime looked to be on the horizon with 4:28 remaining, Zac Conroy broke into the Newmarket zone, dangled the Newmarket defense to walk in alone and deked the Renegade goalie for an incredible goal that turned out to be the game winner. On the ensuing faceoff, Tyler Chadwick snapped the puck over to winger Calvin Cahill who passed over to Will Ross and Ross launched a rocket under the crossbar to give Guelph a two goal cushion just eight seconds after Conroy’s tally, sending the boisterous Guelph crowd into a frenzy. Guelph then went back to work, hemming Newmarket in and giving them no opportunity to mount a comeback. It was a game that personified what this Gryphon team has been all about the entire playoff run – outworking their opponents, making the most of their scoring opportunities and having a will to win no matter what challenges they had to face.
The journey is not over for the Gryphons as they now advance to the U15 OHF Championships in Etobicoke April 22 -24th.
It has been a tremendous season for this Gryphon team. With only 5 returning AA players at the start of the season, the roster was built from players from all four levels of the Guelph rep system (AE, A, AA, AAA) and players from A teams in Hespeler and New Hamburg. But the players quickly bonded into a tight knit group and are very deserving of all the success they have earned.
Congratulations to your 2022 U15 AA OMHA Champions: