Squirts’ Championship Game: The Gateway Gladiator Squirts closed out the 2016/17 season with a dramatic win over WHK in the Championship game of the Yankee Conference on Saturday. The Gladiators came ready to avenge their opening round loss to WHK, but after a slow start and a few critical mistakes, they found themselves down 4-0 with less than a minute to play in the second period. Brayden Cannon looked like he would get the Gladiators on the scoreboard with a late period breakaway, only to be stopped by the goaltender. On the ensuing defensive zone face-off, Tommy Clavell took the puck up the right side and cut across to the net and neatly tucked one in under the goalie with seven seconds left in the second. Still down three as the third period began, the resilient Gladiators dug deep and mounted a comeback starting with the first face-off of the third period. Ben Hebbel won the face off back to Mike Brown who passed to Cannon on the wing. Cannon moved the puck to a breaking Hebbel who sped to the net and netted the Gladiators’ second goal in 80 seconds. Continuing the comeback on the next face, Liz Kilpatrick pulled the puck to Bree Killion who fed Brayden Hathon who launched a wrist shot from the blue line then found the back of the net. WHK, with momentum swinging, took a timeout that allowed the Gladiators to catch their breath as well. The Gladiators kept the attack on with Cannon taking a pass from Hebbel and flipping the puck into the net above the reach of the goalie. With game tied, the fans chanting and WHK dazed, Hebbel took the ensuing face-off straight to the net to give the Gladiators a 5-4 lead. Not slowing down, Hebbel took the next face-off and found Cannon open across the crease, and Cannon again launched a shot out of reach of the goalie and extended the Gladiators’ lead to 6-4. All in all, the Gladiators scored six unanswered goals in just under ten minutes of play with a final score of 6-5. In net, with a standout performance was Ryan Killion, who stopped 26 of 31 shots for the win.
Pee Wees’ Championship Game: Gateway Gladiator Pee Wees had an incredible season losing a single game all year. On Sunday, the Yankee conference championship game pitted the Gateway Gladiator Pee Wee team versus the Coastal Stars. In the first period, Nathan Ribeiro put Gateway on the board with assists from Connor Macleod and Thomas Leger with Joe Urnek and Brady Kidney contributing some great plays. In the second period, Ribeiro scored his second of the game with assists from Sean Pollock and Leger. Lucy Murphy played aggressive to the puck giving her teammates a chance to take the puck to the net. Ribeiro soon completed the hat trick with an assist from Ty Rebeiro. Lucas Demoranville came in strong with Jacob Hebbel for some unbeatable defense. In the final frame, Matthew Stone was strong, making plays to get the puck where it needed to be and helping Ribeiro secure his fourth goal of the game with an assist from Rebeiro. The Stars added pressure, but Rebeiro was able to get through and score Gateway’s fifth goal of the game with an assist from Pollock. Matthew Paling had multiple shots the whole game, but he couldn’t reach the netting until late in the third when he put away an unassisted goal leaving the final score 6-0. Gateway’s Goalie Ryker King played an unbelievable game, making multiple difficult saves to keep the Stars from scoring and securing the shutout for the final game of the season.