Team GTHL Blue, GTHL Red, HNO and NOHA were all winners to open the 2018 OHL Gold Cup at the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener, Ont. on Thursday.
A total of 130 players chosen in April’s OHL Priority Selection are representing their respective minor hockey associations in the annual showcase event.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s action.
LENNOX STANDS TALL AS GTHL BLUE STARTS ON WINNING NOTE
GTHL BLUE 5 (1-0-0-0) – OMHA WHITE 2 (0-1-0-0)
Team OMHA White pressed hard in the third period but couldn’t overcome a 4-1 deficit, falling 5-2 to Team GTHL Blue behind a pair of goals from Reid Valade (KIT).
OMHA White outshot GTHL Blue 14-6 in the third period but GTHL netminder Tristan Lennox (SAG) stopped 27 of 29 shots that came his way on the afternoon as Liam Babcock (KGN), Devlin O’Brien (MISS) and Mississauga Reps teammate Jake Uberti (NIAG) added markers for the Blueshirts.
GTHL Blue defenceman Austin D’Orazio (BAR) chipped in with two assists in the victory as his club prevailed despite being outshot 29-21.
Jakson Kirk (PBO) and Logan Morrison (HAM) provided goals for OMHA White while goaltender Marco Latassa (OS) made 16 saves in the loss.
DEFENDING CHAMPION GTHL RED IN THE WIN COLUMN ON DAY 1
GTHL RED 3 (1-0-0-0) – ALLIANCE 1 (0-1-0-0)
Cole Perfetti (SAG) scored what would stand as the game winner with 5:17 left in the third period as Team GTHL Red defeated Team ALLIANCE 3-1 in the second game of the day.
James Gray stopped 22 of the 23 shots that came his way as GTHL Red was propelled to victory by other goals from defenceman Nolan Dillingham-Morelli (SAR) and forward Riley Piercey (BAR) into the empty net.
Down 3-0 with the extra attacker on the ice, Joseph Serpa (KIT) ended Gray’s shutout bid, putting the ALLIANCE on the board with 3:17 to go in the third period.
GTHL Red outshot ALLIANCE 29-23 as goaltender Mathias Onuska (KGN) made 26 saves in defeat.
HNO DOUBLES UP HEO, OPENS SHOWCASE WITH A WIN
HNO 6 (1-0-0-0) – HEO 3 (0-1-0-0)
After finishing at the bottom of the standings in each of the last several years, Team HNO is off to a running start at the 2018 OHL Gold Cup as American talent supplemented the attack in a 6-3 victory over Team HEO.
Sean McGurn (LDN) and Kyle McDonald (WSR) had a goal and an assist each to put HEO up 2-1 after one period, but HEO would storm in front in the second as goals from Jacob Perreault (SAR) and Dylan Winsor (KIT) put them in the lead for good.
Nikolas Campbell, Colby Ambrosio (OTT) and Owen Perala added third period markers while HEO’s Josh Barnes (OS) kept his club within three on the power play.
Konner Kuuskivi also scored for HNO while goaltender Connor Lemieux made 25 saves to backstop his club to victory.
HNO outshot HEO 32-28 and went 2-for-4 on the power play.
NOHA STUNS OMHA BLACK ON BROWN’S OVERTIME WINNER
NOHA 6 (1-0-0-0) – OMHA BLACK 5 (0-0-1-0) – OT
Team NOHA and Team OMHA Black saved the best for last on Thursday as Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves forward Gavin Brown stepped up with the overtime winner 1:40 into the extra frame for a 6-5 victory.
The back-and-forth affair saw NOHA come out on top behind two-goal performances from Brown and David Campbell (NB) while Giordano Biondi (SBY) joined Campbell with a three-point output.
Outshot 45-27, NOHA relied on strong goaltending from Reece Proulx (NB) who turned aside 40 shots in the win.
Down 3-2 after two periods, Hunter Brazier (OSH) joined Brown and Biondi with third period markers as the latter tied the score up at five with 3:24 remaining.
Ethan Cardwell (SAG) led the way offensively for OMHA Black with a pair of goals while other tallies came from Jacob Vreugdenhil (NIAG), Tyson Foerster (BAR) and Quinton Byfield (SBY). James Hardie (MISS) and Brody Waters (OS) both had a pair of assists in the loss.