This past weekend the U15 MD 1 Waxers rang in the lunar new year in good style to earn the title of gold medal champions at the inaugural Oakville Rangers Winter Classic tournament. 2023 is the year of the rabbit, which is the luckiest of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The rabbit also represents peaceful
and patient energy, which is a perfect comparison to our U15 MD 1 Waxers and how they played all weekend long.
This tournament boasted 300 teams
competing in over 700 games at all ages and levels over the course of four days.
Our opening match was against a familiar squad and tournament favourite: top-ranked Lorne Park Wild. Due to the Wild’s familial ties to the Waxers organization, both teams were amicable opponents. Never a team that that buckles under pressure, we broke the seal to win our first match with a final of 3-1 in the tournament opener!
Game two aligned us with yet another formidable opponent: the Humber Valley Sharks, which we battled to another victory of 2-0!
Game three proved to be trying against the Leaside Flames. After a highly contested and spirited affair, the Waxers couldn’t find the back of the net despite out-shooting their opponents 2:1 and ended up with a 1-0 loss.
Heading into game four vs. the Port Credit Storm, the Waxers faced a “win and you’re in” scenario as their division had a logjam with three teams tied in first place after three games. Our boys answered the bell on the first shift scoring the opening goal and secured our semifinals spot with a convincing 6-2 win!
We headed into the semifinals after finishing second in our division with a 3-1 Round Robin record. In the semifinals elimination round, the Waxers faced off against the opposite division’s first ranked Applewood Coyotes. Following a familiar theme in the tournament that hosted the top talent in Ontario, the Waxers and Coyotes were both scoreless after two periods. The Waxers decided to shake things up and run a set faceoff play right at puck drop of the third period. Within eight seconds it was in the back of the Coyotes’ net—1-0 Waxers! The Waxers fiercely attacked less than a minute later and scored a second and final goal to secure their spot in the championship game vs. the undefeated 5-0 Kitchener Jr. Rangers (Red).
The Finals provided us with an opportunistic grudge match as the Waxers had previously fallen 3-1 to the same Rangers team in round robin play at the Nazem Kadri Tournament in London earlier this season. Payback was personal.
The Rangers jumped out to a fast 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Channeling their peaceful and patient energy, the Waxers quickly regrouped off the next draw striking back immediately to tie the game 1-1, letting the Rangers know they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Rangers scored another goal to end the first period with a 2-1 lead, following through and capitalizing on a turnover and extended their lead to 3-1.
The Rangers appeared to be in control of the game…or so one would think. With a “never say die” mindset, the Waxers started chipping away shift after shift and shot after shot and eventually scored a goal to cut the lead to 3-2 late in the second period. What started off as a roaring and boisterous Rangers bench all game long had now left the Rangers stunned and speechless as the Waxers were starting to turn the tide. New year, new Waxers. We had our eyes on the golden prize! The Rangers felt the energy shift in our direction and they ended up taking two penalties back to back to give the Waxers what would end up being a decisive moment in the game. In the final minute of the second period, our boys capitalized on the powerplay scoring a game-tying third goal and headed into the third period tied at 3-3.
The Waxers rolled out over the bench like a tsunami shift after shift and eventually buried a goal that would give them the lead 4-3 until the referees decided against it and called the goal off leaving the game tied up at 3-3. After multiple chances on both ends the third ended deadlocked in a 3-3 tie. Heading into 3v3 sudden death overtime, everyone was on their feet holding their breath. The Waxers were in control all OT never wavering or buckling under the immense pressure that was applied and eventually burying a goal on an unbelievable misdirection drop pass that was placed over the Rangers goalies shoulder and just under the cross bar to give the Waxers the championship 4-3 win!
The Markham Waxers U15 MD 1 team would like to thank the Oakville Minor Hockey Association for hosting a momentous tournament and the Kitchener Jr. Rangers for another phenomenal hockey game.
Our biggest thank you as always goes out to all our U15 MD 1 Markham Waxers hockey family & friends for all of their incredible support during this tournament. And, most importantly, a big congratulations to all of the U15 MD 1 Markham Waxers champs: Kish, Vinny, Jack, Kevy, Eric, Anthony, Mats, Evan, Knighty, Ryden, Jalen, Terry, Marcus, Pagsie, Devin, Nathan, Coach Ryno, Coach Jeff, Coach Sal, Manager Richard, Trainer Jeff and Trainer Jill.