Novice AE Wildcats Claw Their Way To Silver In Barrie, News, Novice, AE (Whitby Minor Hockey)

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Novice AE Wildcats Claw Their Way To Silver In Barrie
Submitted By Kelcey Brade on Monday, November 26, 2018
The Novice AE Wildcats returned home to Whitby late Sunday with silver medals proudly hanging around their necks after a hard-fought weekend at the Canadian Tire Classic in Barrie.

The Wildcats earned a split on Friday, beating the Oakville Rangers in the tournament opener 2-1, before falling to the Kitchener Rangers (Blue) 5-1.

Fuelled by Friday afternoon's loss, the Wildcats posted back-to-back shutouts on Saturday. First, knocking off the Cambridge Hawks (Red) 5-0, before closing out the round-robin portion of the tournament with an 8-0 win over Forest Hill Force. The Wildcats would finish the five-team round-robin in second place posting a record of three wins and one loss.

Sunday morning's semifinal saw an evenly matched clash with Oakville (2-2). Oakville opened the scoring less than a minute in, but Ewan Amodeo would respond with a power play goal before the end of the first.

Oakville would regain the lead halfway through the second period, a lead they would hold until the Wildcats stormed back in the final frame.

Michael Jeffery would score the equalizer with just under nine minutes to go. Less than ninety seconds later, Kasen Henry would score the eventual game winner. Marcus Murdoch would shut the door the rest of the way as he and the Wildcats advanced to the Final with a 3-2 win.

The Championship Final was a showdown of the tournament's top two teams -- the Wildcats (4-1) and Kitchener Rangers (5-0).

From puck drop to the final whistle the momentum swings had fans on the very edge of their seats.

The Wildcats would open the scoring with just over two minutes to play in the first period. Henry finished off a centring pass from Jeffery who was being hooked to the ice (delayed penalty). 

For the next nine, nail-biting minutes of game time it was an all-out goalie duel with Milo Brade making several big saves to keep the Wildcats in the lead, only to be equalled by his counterpart in the Rangers net.

Then with less than three minutes to play in the second the Rangers would explode for two quick goals, just 26seconds apart. But Gray McLean would respond for the Wildcats 60 seconds later squaring this championship game at 2-2 after two.

The Rangers would score another pair of goals in quick succession, doubling their lead to 4-2, early in the third.

However, the underdog Wildcats wouldn't go away quietly. After a 30-second timeout called by Coach Clarry Myers to calm and rally the boys, the Wildcats went back to work.

Jeffery would pull Whitby to within one goal with 7:41 remaining. The Wildcats would then have a few great looks at a tying goal approximately two minutes later, before Kitchener would get an insurance goal as they skated to a 5-3 win.

From the forwards, to the defence, to the goalies, Sunday's two games were two of the most-complete games of the season as all 17 players continue to make great strides in every position. 

Sunday's silver is the second piece of hardware the Wildcats have won this season after taking hoisting the Justin Williams Cup back in September. The Wildcats next chance to add to the trophy case comes December 7-9 in Oshawa at HockeyFest.

Before that, the Wildcats now return to league play where they'll face the Waxers in Markham on Wednesday, before hosting them next Monday. Sandwiched between those two games, the Wildcats will play in Oshawa on Saturday.

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