Oakville Rangers Midget A Silver in Anaheim, News (Oakville Rangers Hockey Club)

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Oakville Rangers Midget A Silver in Anaheim
Submitted By Karen Pike on Wednesday, January 23, 2019
The JSerra Fall Festival International Hockey Tournament was held November 21-24, 2018 in Anaheim, California.  The Oakville Rangers Midget “A” hockey team, who competed last year in the Varsity Division, was moved up to the “Elite” Division for this year’s tournament. 
The underdog Rangers lost their opening game, but rebounded by winning their next three hard fought battles to end up second in their grouping.   

a result of their second place finish, the Rangers were scheduled to play the St. Paul’s Crusaders from Winnipeg, Manitoba in the semi finals. St. Paul’s is the reigning Manitoba D1 provincial champion and the tournament favourite.  The Crusaders went undefeated in round robin play, outscoring their first four opponents 24-5. 

 The Crusader’s dominated the first period of the semi-final, outshooting the Rangers 18-5, but Brody Wilden was spectacular in goal for the Rangers and kept the score close at 1-0.

St. Paul’s continued to carry the play in the second period and scored two more goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Jake Blackwood got the Rangers on the scoreboard late in the second and after two periods, it was 3-1 for the Crusaders. 

Early in the third period, Blackwood would get his second goal of the game, assisted by Cole Maddox to bring the score to 3-2.

The Rangers then ran into penalty trouble and had to kill off a 5 minute major penalty in the second half of the third period.  The Rangers PK was outstanding and limited the Crusaders to just one shot on goal.  With one minute still left in the penalty, Matthew Ambrose stole the puck at the Ranger blue line, raced into the St Paul’s zone and fired a shot past the Crusader’s goaltender to even the score at 3 – 3.

As the clock ticked down, and only a few seconds remaining in regulation, Sam Fleming fed a pass to defenceman Jonathan Bodner who raced through the neutral zone, crossed the opponents blue line and cut to the middle of the ice.  He fired a hard, low shot that found an opening and trickled into the net.  This came with 5.4 seconds left on the clock.  The Rangers win the game 4-3 with a miracle come-back victory against the Winnipeg team that was heavily favored to win the tournament!

The Rangers were off to the finals against the Edge Prep School team from Calgary, Alberta. Still riding the high from the semi final game, the Rangers built a lead of 4-2 at the end of two periods. With the gas-tank running near empty after competing in their 6th tough game in 3 days, the Rangers team surrendered 2 goals in the third and held on to force a 4-on-4 overtime period.  The Rangers had the better of the play in overtime, but were unable to seal the deal.  A 3-player shootout would determine the Gold/Silver winners.  Both goaltenders were strong in the shootout stopping the first 5 shots until Calgary’s top player scored to give the Edge the win and give Oakville the Silver.

The Rangers surpassed all expectations, both on and off the ice and were excellent ambassadors for the Town of Oakville and the Oakville Rangers Hockey Club.

While in California, the team enjoyed a variety of activities which included, surfing and beach volleyball at Huntington Beach, attending an Anaheim Ducks/Vancouver Canucks NHL game, a day at Disney and an authentic US Thanksgiving dinner. 

As the Midget A players wind down their minor hockey careers, this trip will be one that is fondly remembered by both players and family for years to come. 

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