The Gloucester Rangers rang out 2019 and rang in the New Year by winning a pair of banners at the Bell Capital Cup and very nearly a third one.
|The Gloucester Rangers Major Peewee AA team celebrate after winning the Bell Caital Cup on Dec. 31. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
The Major Peewee AA team was on the ice at the Canadian Tire Centre first as they faced the New Jersey Devils in what turned out to be the most exciting and nerve-racking finals of this year’s tournament.
The Devils got on the board first with a goal from Ethan Dixon at the 7:12 mark of the opening period.
The young American side was threatening to take a two goal lead on the power play midway through the second period when the puck bounced over the stick of the New Jersey defenceman at the Rangers’ blueline, allowing Keegan Hagar to sprint down the ice on a clear breakaway.
A perfect deke and backhand shot beat the New Jersey goalie high to the glove side to tie the score at a goal apiece.
The score remained tied until the opening minute of the third when New Jersey’s Keegan Sears scored to put the Devils back in front.
The lead didn’t last long, however, thanks to Niam McArthur who tied the game just 19 seconds later.
The score remained tied through the remainder of the third period and five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, which meant the contest would have to be decided in the dreaded shootout.
Both teams scored on their first attempts and then traded saves on their second and third attempts to set up a sudden death situation.
When Colby Hunter scored for the Rangers on the team’s fourth attempt, it put all the pressure on the Devils’ shooter who had to score to keep his team’s hopes alive. As he bore down on Rangers’ goalie Luca Carlucci, he briefly lost control of the puck twice and had to double back after going too far down the ice. Although he did manage to get the puck past Carlucci, the goal was disallowed and the Rangers had won the game and the championship.
The Rangers’ Bell Capital Cup story quickly went from shootout to blowout as the organization’s Minor Peewee A team made short work of the Ashburn Xtreme in the next game on the Canadian Tire Centre ice. The Rangers scored in the opening seconds of all three periods of the Minor Peewee AA final on their way to a 6-2 win.
Lexie Hartoun broke the ice with a goal just 45 seconds into the game.
The Xtreme bounced back with a air of goals to take a 2-1 lead, but it was all Rangers after that.
Caleb Hamilton’s goal at with 4:13 left in the first period would tie the game and then Ty Thomas scored what would turn out to be the game winner just 11 seconds into the second stanza.
Thomas then set up a power play marker by Connor Bain at the 6:37 mark of the second period to give the Rangers a two goal lead.
Hartoun’s second of the game on a beautiful breakaway just 43 seconds into the third period extended Gloucester’s lead to 5-2.
Sidney Belfoy provided the icing on the cake with a goal at the 6:01 mark of the third to make the final score 6-2.
The Gloucester Rangers Major Atom AA team very nearly gave the organization a third Bell Capital Cup banner in the AAA division, but they ultimately lost 4-3 in overtime to the Nepean Raiders.
Trailing 3-1 after the second stanza, the Rangers battled back to tie the game with a pair of third period goals from Quinn Young and Carter Beauchesne to force an extra session. The game winner was scored by the Raiders’ Brayden Bennett.
In other action involving a Gloucester Rangers team, the Minor Peewee AA squad lost 5-1 to the Central Ontario Wolves in the Minor Peewee AAA final after going 5-0 in the round robin and semi-finals.
For those keeping track at home that’s three Gloucester Rangers teams in three of the four Major and Minor AA and AAA Peewee finals.
| The Minor Peewee A Gloucester Rangers pose for the their post game picture after winning the Bell Capital Cup on Dec. 31 FRED SHERWIN PHOTO