Novice AE Wildcats Make History At HockeyFest, News, Novice, AE, 2018-2019 (Whitby Minor Hockey)

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Novice AE Wildcats Make History At HockeyFest
Submitted By Kelcey Brade on Monday, December 10, 2018
The Whitby Novice AE Wildcats capped off a successful tournament schedule in golden fashion Sunday, by beating the Leitrim Hawks 5-2 in the Oshawa HockeyFest AE Championship Final to become the first Wildcats Novice AE team to win the division title in the tournaments history.

The Wildcats opened the round-robin with a come from behind 2-1 win over tournament hosts, the Oshawa Minor Generals, early Friday. The Wildcats were stymied throughout the game by the Minor Generals goalie who had upset on his mind. Chad Martin would score the equalizer late in the second period, while Michael Jeffery would score the eventual winner midway through the third period. Milo Brade wasn’t tested often, but when he was, in the second and third periods, he shut the door.

The Wildcats would hit the ice just over three hours later for their second game  against the Leitrim Hawks. The over-aggressive Hawks were circling the Wildcats net early and often with Marcus Murdoch making save-after-save keeping his team very much in the game. Leitrim would open the scoring in the first period. The Wildcats would push back from their slow start earning the majority of the scoring chances in the second and third periods, but weren’t rewarded for their efforts. The Hawks would double their lead late in the second period, before scoring two controversial goals in the third period with the latter hitting the post and never crossing the line. Isaac Myers would break the shutout with 20 seconds left as the Wildcats record dropped to 1-1 with the 4-1 loss.

24 hours later the Wildcats finished up the round-robin portion of their schedule against Lakeshore League rivals, the Belleville Bulls. A win and the Wildcats would finish second place in heading into Championship Sunday. A loss and the Wildcats could fall to fourth entering the semi-finals. A motivated Wildcats team chewed up the ice and the Bulls. Kasen Henry opened the scoring 37 seconds into the contest, one of three goals on the night for the right winger. In total, the Wildcats would score 9 goals in a 9-0 rout of the Bulls. In addition to Henry’s hat-trick, Jeffery would score a pair, Ewan Amodeo, Lucas Potter, Chad Martin and Gray McLean also found the score sheet. Brade would make six saves for the shutout. With the win the Wildcats finished the round-robin with two wins and one loss.

Sunday’s semi-final saw a matchup against the Oshawa Minor Generals. But unlike the closely contested tournament opener against the Generals, the Wildcats picked up right where they left off Saturday night against Belleville blanking the Gens 8-0. It was a well-balanced offensive barrage with seven different goal scorers finding twine and a suffocating defensive effort limiting the Generals to just one shot on goal. Potter would score twice, while Henry, Della Mora, Jeffery, McLean, Amodeo and Martin provided the other six goals. Murdoch would pick up the one-save shutout.

Primed and pumped after two very impressive wins the Wildcats entered the Championship Final against Leitrim looking to avenge their lone loss. The Wildcats came flying out of the gates in the first period controlling the majority of the play and creating a ton of chances. This time though, they were rewarded for their efforts with Jeffery opening the scoring midway through the first period. Both teams would trade numerous chances as both defence corps and goalies hunkered down. Then in a span of 1:57 in the middle of the second period the Wildcats exploded for two quick goals. First, it was McLean scoring his third of the tournament. Then it was Teagan MacNeil finishing off a powerful drive from the boards going up top just under the bar for his first of the tournament.

Leitrim would push back to start the third period with Brade making a series of saves before having a shot from the point, re-directed, sail over his pad and in.

The next eight minutes were as intense as they come with the Wildcats fighting to regain their three goal lead, while the Hawks tried to cut the deficit to just one. Then with 2:58 remaining, the Hawks snagged another after a mad scramble at the top of the crease.

A minute later the Hawks would pull their goalie for the extra attacker, but the Wildcats would have none of that, refusing entry into their zone. The Wildcats would pot two empty netters over the final 1:05 of the third period.

With Sunday’s win the Wildcats wrap up a very successful tournament season having won two gold medals (Justin Williams Cup & HockeyFest) and earning one runner-up finish (Barrie Canadian Tire Classic).

Next up, a home-and-home against the league-leading Kingston Canadians this Saturday and Sunday as the Wildcats look to hand the Canadians their first regular season losses of the season.

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