Ryan Merkley and Team GTHL Blue win OHL Gold Cup
Merkley picked up an assist in the gold medal game helping lead his team over Team Alliance with a 6-1 score. Finishing the tournament with 8 points (1 goal and 7 assists), the 16 year old had the most assists of any player in the tournament, led all defensive scorers in points and finished tied for third in scoring among all participants.
Storm third round selection Luke Moncada finished third with Team GTHL Red defeating Team HEO and ninth round pick John Beaton 2-1 in a shootout. Moncada and Beaton both had 1 assist in the tournament.
Rounding out the tournament, second round pick Cameron Hillis tied for his team lead in points with 4 and finished the tournament tied for 14th overall in scoring while fifth round selection Mitchell Doyle picked up 1 assist for Team OMHA Black. The Storm’s fourth round pick Teth Burles recorded 3 points (2G, 1A) for Team GTHL Blue, sixth round selection Keegan Stevenson suiting up for Team NOHA had 2 points (1G, 1A) while Barret Kirwin, the Storm’s second pick in the sixth round, picked up 1 assist.
Team GTHL Blue had a three-goal lead after two periods and cruised the rest of the way en route to a 6-1 win over Team ALLIANCE.
Team GTHL Blue was led by goalie Hunter Jones, who finished with 29 saves while allowing one goal. The solid play of Jones will be reflected in his goals against average, which pre-game was 2.33.
Team ALLIANCE’s eight penalties came back to haunt it, as Team ALLIANCE let up four goals while on the penalty kill.
Team GTHL Blue put up an impenetrable defensive front on the penalty kill, and did not allow Team ALLIANCE to score on any of its eight power plays. Team GTHL Blue kept Team ALLIANCE’s goalie busy throughout the game, and Nathan Torchia made 38 saves on 44 shots. Team GTHL Blue’s penalty killing units received substantial work throughout the game as Team GTHL Blue finished with 18 penalty minutes.
Team GTHL Blue was helped by Danil Antropov, who had one goal. Antropov scored on the power play 19:49 into the first period to make the score 2-0 Team GTHL Blue. Team GTHL Blue had gained a power play chance when Joel Mazzilli was whistled for cross checking. Tyler Tucker provided the assist. Team GTHL Blue also got points from Akil Thomas, who also finished with two goals and one assist to lead the team in points. Others who scored for Team GTHL Blue included Curtis Douglas, Teth Burles, and Jackson Alexeev, who scored one goal each. More assists for Team GTHL Blue came via Riley Damiani, who had two and Ryan Merkley, Kevin Bahl, and Emmett Gordon, who contributed one each.
Team ALLIANCE could not produce up to its normal offensive output. Team ALLIANCE puts an average of 3.8 pucks into the net per game. Team ALLIANCE could not stay out of the penalty box, as the team accrued 16 minutes in penalties during the game.
Team ALLIANCE was led by Brady Hinz, who scored the team’s only goal. Hinz scored short handed 2:08 into the second period to make the score 2-1 Team GTHL Blue. Team ALLIANCE was on a disadvantage when Owen Gilhula went off the ice for high sticking. Luke Bignell picked up the assist.