Team OMHA White are the 2014 U16 OHL Gold Cup champions following a 5-2 victory over GTHL Blue to cap off the 20-game, eight-team showcase at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The four day tournament featured 8 teams representing the best players from the ALLIANCE, GTHL, HNO, NOHA, HEO and OMHA stacked with the top 160 Under-16 players in Ontario.
The two OMHA teams were comprised after extensive regular season evaluation that culminated in a mini camp held in Oakville on May 2nd. The team features 40 OHL Priority Draft selections from 16 Minor Midget AAA teams.
Team OMHA White started off the tournament with a tough 3-2 loss to the GTHL Blue team. This would be the only game of the tournament that the boys would lose as they went on to win their next three games against Team HEO (5-3), Team HNO (9-2), and Team GTHL Red (4-1). This would set them up for the Championship game and a chance for revenge against GTHL Blue. Team OMHA White came out flying and showed from the drop of the puck that they were hungry for the win. North Bay Battalion prospect and graduate of the York Simcoe Express, Cameron Morrison opened the scoring for OMHA White with just 25 seconds remaining in the first period. The lead extended to 2-0 in the middle frame when former Niagara North Stars and a 6th round selection to the Plymouth Whalers, Rylee St. Onge scored at 4:31. OMHA White pulled away in the third period when Latrell Harris and Jake Payette of the Niagara North Stars and Brampton 45’s respectively, and both draft picks of the Guelph Storm scored to make it 4-0. Barrie resident, Matthew Brassard who was drafted by his hometown team, the Barrie Colts, rounded out the scoring for OMHA White while also adding one assist in the contest. Dylan Wells who played this past season with the Niagara North Stars proved why he was the first goalie taken in this year’s draft, backstopping his team to a 5-2 win.
Team OMHA Black started off the tournament with a bang, beating team NOHA 2-0. Next up that day was Team Alliance. OMHA Black held on for as long as they could in the second game but the fatigue of playing two games in one day contributed to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Team Alliance. In their third game, OMHA Black showed their perseverance and determination with Cameron Searles scoring a game tying goal with 42 seconds left in the third to send it to overtime. After overtime solved nothing, the game would be decided in the tournaments only shootout. Unfortunately Team Black suffered a heart-breaking shoot out loss. After losing 2 out of 3 games, Team Black was unable to make the semi-finals and found themselves’ playing in the consolation semi-finals against a feisty HNO team. Team Black came away from the game with a win in their first game but was unable to battle back from a few quick goals by Team HEO in the first period and ended up losing their final game.
“I am very proud of the work ethic, character, and skill of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association players. We had two dedicated coaching staffs that created a winning atmosphere and were paramount in the execution of our plan.” said Chris McCleary, General Manager of Team OMHA. “The OMHA has a long and proud tradition of developing some of the top hockey talent in the world. This year’s group of players also showed that heart, determination, and teamwork all play a vital role in being successful on and off the ice.”
The OMHA are extremely proud of all 40 of players on both teams. They represented the OMHA in a great fashion. We would also like to thank the coaches, trainers, and parents on helping out and making this year’s OHL Gold Cup a successful one.
The OMHA would like to extend a thank you to its sponsors, Under Armour and Gatorade for their generous support of both OMHA U-16 Gold Cup teams.