York Simcoe Express win 2016 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament
The 2016 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament was destined to end in either a three-peat or a trifecta.
Rhys Forhan's goal 7:17 into the second overtime completed the triple crown for the York Simcoe Express, as they added an OHL Cup title to their Silver Stick and OMHA Championships.
Forhan's second of the night came on a turn-around wrister that snuck under the pad of Toronto Marlboros goaltender Elliott Tang, giving the Express a 2-1 victory for their first OHL Cup title since 2004.
"It feels amazing, there's no place I'd rather be," said the night's hero. "Doing it for the boys is amazing and being able to capitalize in front of everyone, there's no feeling like it."
Forhan's winner capped off a furious overtime pace that saw the two clubs swap chances, forcing Tang and OHL Cup MVP Andrei Berezinskiy in goal for York Simcoe into some tough saves.
The Marlboros opened the scoring at 4:31 after Tang turned aside a two-on-one attempt by Cameron Hillis and Richard Whittaker. Blueliner Pierre-Luc Forget took a neutral zone feed from Thomas Tinmouth, crossing the top of the circles before beating Berezinskiy over the shoulder on a shot that trickled over the goal line.
After a scoreless second period, an Express powerplay 7:39 into the third didn't yield any results on the scoreboard, but it did provide them sustained pressure as they wore Toronto down, scoring a shift into even strength play.
A failed Marlboros clearing attempt saw Ian Vucko hold the play at the offensive blueline as he quickly dished to Robbie Cranston who found a waiting Forhan in the slot. Forhan waited out Tang, tucking the puck past his outstretched pad for his first of the showcase at 10:53 to tie the score at one.
The Express goal ended Tang's shutout streak of 155 minutes dating back to Friday's win over Team NOHA.
The second straight Championship game to require overtime also marked the first double overtime Championship game in OHL Cup history coming to an end 7:17 into the period when Forhan turned and fired a shot under the pad of Tang to vault the Express onto the ice in celebration.
"The year we've had, it's been a dream year," said York Simcoe head coach Rob Shilton. "It's hard to even describe what a great experience this has been. There's a number of guys here who have been with our program for six, seven years now and it's so satisfying to see everybody rewarded for their hard work."
The Marlboros outshot the Express 40-32 in the game as Andrei Berezinskiy made 39 saves to earn Player of the Game honours along with the Tim Adams Memorial Trophy awarded to the OHL Cup MVP.
The Toronto Marlboros end their 2016 OHL Cup with a record of 5-2-0-0, being led in scoring by OHL Cup leading scorer Akil Thomas who had six goals, seven assists and 13 points in seven contests. Danil Antropov trailed close behind with seven goals, three assists and 10 points in seven games.
The Marlies played in their tenth straight OHL Cup Championship game but were denied a record third straight title in the loss.
Six players were named to the Gatorade OHL Cup All-Star Team at the conclusion of the Championship game. Those players include Marlies forwards Akil Thomas and Danil Antropov, Niagara North Stars forward Hunter Holmes (4 GP, 6-3--9), blueliner Justin MacPherson (7 GP, 0-3--3) of the York Simcoe Express and defenceman Declan Chisholm (6 GP, 2-3--5) of the Don Mills Flyers. York Simcoe's Berezinskiy rounded out the selections in goal with a 5-0 record to go with a 2.09 goals-against average.
Hockey Night in Canada star and Minor Hockey advocate Don Cherry presented the OHL Cup alongside OHL Commissioner David Branch and GTHL First Vice President Ken Smith. Monday’s Final was played before an energetic crowd at Mattamy Athletic Centre and was also broadcast across the country live on Sportsnet Ontario..
The OHL Cup Showcase Tournament provides fans and scouts one last opportunity to see many of the top minor midget aged players from across Ontario and parts of the United States compete for the OHL Cup performing against the best competition prior to the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
For more information about the OHL Cup Showcase Tournament, hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League, please visit www.ohlcup.ca.