Ontario Captures Winter Games Hockey Gold
Prince George, B.C. – Ontario is the gold medal champion of men’s hockey at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
The Onatrio squad captured the final gold of the winter games by skating to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Alberta before a nearly full CN Centre Sunday afternoon. By all accounts and comments from those in attendance it was a well-played game and closer, at least for two periods, than the score would indicate.
The first period was full of chances at both ends of the ice, with starting goalies Michael DiPietro (Ontario) and Ian Scott (Alberta) providing some outstanding saves on what looked to be sure goals. The Albertans outshot the competition 16-12 in the opening twenty minutes, which ended scoreless. Alberta was assessed three minor penalties to two against Ontario in the first period.
The second period started out like the first, back and forth, before Ontario got on the board at the 7:34 mark, Ryan McLeod scoring with assists to Owen Tippett and Gabriel Vilardi. Alberta tried to bounce back immediately after that goal but DiPietro kept them off the scoresheet with a couple of great saves. Alberta took two minors to one against Ontario in the period, and things got a bit chippy in the final two minutes after Tippett of Ontario got taken out in a blatant knee on knee hit in front of the Alberta net at the 17:58 mark. Tippett was down on the ice for a short time before being helped off the ice by teammates. Somehow none of the four officials on the ice saw the hit and no penalty was called. The period ended 12-0 Ontario, who outshot Alberta 1-0.
The final period was textbook defence on the part of the eastern club, which almost without exception had two men back at all times. As well, the Ontario forwards slowly took the game over and had the bulk of the chances in that last frame. They hit a goalpost 8 minutes in and then scored their second goal at 11:33 following an Alberta turnover in their own end. Forward Isaac Ratcliffe grabbed the loose puck and fed teammate Nick Suzuki who scored his third goal of the Games with a high backhander at 11:33. Alberta had a couple of good chances in the last four minutes but failed to capitalize and pulled their goalie with 1:57 left. Ontario’s Zachary Gallant made it 3-0 with an empty netter at 18:32. Alberta managed to spoil DiPietro’s bid for the shutout as forward James Hamblin blasted a shot from the slot past him with 8 seconds left on the clock, that goal coming on the power play. Each team took one minor in the period.
Ontario outshot Alberta 13-4 in the period, 36-30 in the game.
Canada Games Council Chair Tom Quinn was on hand to present the bronze medals to Manitoba, who beat Quebec 5-3 in the game for third place Saturday night. B.C. Lieutenant-governor Judith Guichon presented the silver medals to Alberta, and Governor General David Johnston hung the gold medals around the necks of the champions from Ontario.