OTTAWA, Ont. – Team Canada Black has been crowned champions at the 2021 Capital City Challenge after downing Team Canada Red 5-4 in an overtime thriller in the tournament final on Wednesday night.
Team Canada Black jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period after goals by Ty Halaburda (Victoria, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) and Alex Pharand (Sudbury, Ont./Hamilton, OHL), but Matthew Wood (Nanaimo, B.C./Victoria, BCHL) and Natan Éthier (Rosemère, Que./Saint-Eustache, LHM18AAAQ) responded with goals for Team Canada Red to even the score at 2-2. The teams traded goals in the second as Halaburda notched his second goal of the game and Owen Outwater (Orleans, Ont./North Bay, OHL) scored just over two minutes later to tie the game again.
The final minute of the third period was a wild one. Riley Heidt (Saskatoon, Sask./Prince George, WHL) fired home a rebound with 29 seconds to go to put Red ahead, but Zach Benson (Chilliwack, B.C./Winnipeg, WHL) netted his tournament-leading seventh goal on a shot off the face-off with 0.4 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Calum Ritchie (Oakville, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) was the extra-time hero, beating Team Canada Red goaltender Jackson Unger (Calgary, Alta./Edge School, CSSHL) on a breakaway in the extra frame.
“It was a little bit of a blur. I saw the puck bounce off the boards and I had the opportunity to get a breakaway, so I just skated as hard as I could,” Ritchie said. “Muscle memory from practice took over, and to be honest I do not really remember [scoring], but it was such a great feeling to get the game-winner.”
Team Canada Black netminder Mason Vaccari (Mississauga, Ont./Cobourg, OJHL) stopped 30 shots, while Unger made 35 saves.
Team Canada White defeats National Women’s Team in third-place game
In the third-place game earlier on Wednesday, five different skaters found the back of the net for Team Canada White as it defeated Canada’s National Women’s Team 5-1.
Carey Terrance (Akwesasne, N.Y./Erie, OHL) kick-started the offence for Canada White, opening the scoring less than three minutes into the game. Tyler Peddle (Antigonish, N.S./Drummondville, QMJHL) added a goal and an assist, and Ethan Gauthier (Drummondville, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL) chipped in with a pair of helpers.
Goaltender Scott Ratzlaff (Irma, Alta./Seattle, WHL) made 12 saves in the win.
“Our players were a little bit disappointed after yesterday’s result, but overall I am proud of the way they finished the tournament,” said Canada White head coach Rob Wilson (Toronto/Peterborough, Ont.). “We had such a great group of players and staff, and it was a pleasure to be a part of this team. I am looking forward to watching our players flourish as they continue on in their careers.”
Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Ohio State University, WCHA) scored the lone goal for Canada’s National Women’s Team, while goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./PWHPA) turned in a 38-save performance.
For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2021 Capital City Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and by using #OurGameIsBack.