Toronto, ON – Matthew Alvaro scored at 8:04 of overtime to lift the Mississauga Rebels to an exciting 2-1 win over the Toronto Marlboros Sunday afternoon to win the 2012 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
Alvaro’s third of the tournament ended the game in dramatic fashion before a near capacity crowd of close to 1,000 fans at Herb Carnegie Arena. He picked up a rebound on a shot stopped by Mathew Robson and took the puck behind the net, sliding it in on the wraparound to give the Rebels their second OHL Cup title in three years. The Rebels last won the title in 2010 with the same 2-1 score over the Marlies who made their sixth straight appearance in the championship final.
“I saw Robson just out of his crease so my first thought was to try the wraparound,” said an excited Alvaro who finished the tournament with six points in seven games. “We stayed the course and played our game and this was definitely the biggest game of my life and the biggest goal of my life.”
Tournament MVP honours were awarded to the Marlies’ Connor McDavid who had an assist in this contest to bring his point total to 19 in seven games scoring 11 goals with eight helpers. He wins the Tim Adams Memorial Trophy with the highest point total since Marlies’ grad and former tournament MVP Sam Gagner had 17 points in five games in the 2005 event.
The Player of the Game awards were also presented as part of the post-game ceremonies and went to Marlies’ captain Roland McKeown who scored the lone goal for the GTHL champs, and goaltender Liam Herbst who backstopped the Rebels to the win.
“This is just an unbelievable feeling,” said Herbst, who finished the tournament with five wins including three shutouts and a tournament-best goals-against-average of 0.58. “During the overtime we had to keep our focus. After losing (an overtime game earlier this season) we know what it’s like to feel down and now it’s amazing to be on top.”
The game was scoreless until the Rebels’ David Miller got credit for his third goal of the tournament on a strange play at 12:50 of the first period. His shot was stopped by Robson but the rebound deflected off a Marlies’ defender and sent back into the goal.
Herbst came up big throughout the contest with several two-on-one stops in the second period that kept the score in favour of the Rebels until 4:14 of the third period. McKeown finally put the Marlies on the board when he converted a tic-tac-toe play that began when Samuel Bennett carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a pass cross ice to McDavid who quickly tapped it back into the slot for McKeown who buried his shot into the net to tie the score.
The pace of the action in the third period was quick with both teams generating odd-man rushes as regulation winded down. The speed of the game continued to be fast in overtime when the action switched to four-on-four until Alvaro’s game-winner helped the Rebels avenge the five-game series loss they suffered to the Marlies in the GTHL finals.
“We really thought this game could go either way and to see our guys celebrating – there is no better feeling,” said Rebels Head Coach Geoff Schomogyi. “We were focused all week on the things we can control and we talked about getting second chances like this and right now there is nothing better.”
The Rebels finished an exciting OHL Cup tournament with a perfect 7-0-0 record scoring 24 goals and allowing just five. Captain Robert Fabbri led the team in scoring with eight points including four goals and four assists and was an offensive threat throughout the entire championship final.
“This was an exciting end to another great OHL Cup tournament wrapping up with the top two ranked teams that battled each other today and throughout the season in the GTHL,” said OHL Director of Central Scouting and Player Development Darrell Woodley. “It was impressive to see the players elevate their games when everything is on the line at this stage of the season and they should all be proud of their efforts.”
Hockey Night in Canada star and Minor Hockey advocate Don Cherry presented the OHL Cup and medals alongside OHL Commissioner David Branch as part of the post-game ceremonies.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)