Team Black and Team Red duked it out in the finals. Photo: Josh Kim/Provided
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Oshawa Generals forward Callum Ritchie scores winning goal in overtime

The two best teams in the round-robin met in the Capital City Challenge finals on Dec. 1 at TD Place. It was team Black and team Red who earned their place in the gold medal game. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the first time that this tournament, which was made up of the best under 17-year-old hockey players in the country (minus Connor Bedard), was played in this format. 

This tournament included four teams. The best U17 players all around Canada were separated into three teams (White, Red and Black), and the fourth team was the women’s national team.

Both teams scored two goals in the first period. Team Black forwards, Ty Halaburda and Alex Pharand scored the first two goals of the period with a 1:07 gap between them.

For Team Red, Matthew Wood and Natan Éthier were the scorers in the first period.

In the second frame, Halaburda scored his second goal of the game when he redirected a Denver Barkey shot.

Two minutes later, hometown hero and Team Red forward Owen Outwater scored his second goal of the tournament to tie the game.

Outwater appreciated playing this challenge at his home. 

“It was an awesome experience to see my family here. It was great to see them after every game and it was an unbelievable experience,” he said, after the game. 

With 28 seconds to go in the game, Prince George Cougars forward Riley Heidt beat Team Black goalie Mason Mcvari.

As the Reds prepared to celebrate their victory, the Black team continued to buzz deep in their zone. 

With three seconds remaining in the third period, Callum Ritchie won the faceoff, and the points leader of the tournament, Zack Benson scored the most important goal of the tournament (up to that point) to tie the game and send the match to overtime.

In overtime, Ritchie took advantage of a breakaway to score the winning goal of the tournament and to give the win to the Black Team.

According to Team Black coach, Stéphane Julien, his team was very tired.

“They are something special this group. We focused and the guys played their roles during this short tournament. They are all good players and this group had great chemistry, “ said Julien.

Players will now return to their respective junior teams to finish the season.