Tillsonburg Lions Club Midget LL forward Greg Vanwynsberghe provided a victorious overtime yin to Paris Wolfpack's James Rosewell's goaltending yang Saturday evening in the Kinsmen/Memorial Arena.
"Took it around and pulled it back and went upstairs," said Vanywnsberghe of his Max Partlo Memorial LL Tournament championship game-winner at the 3:31 mark of three-on-three overtime. "He went low and I went high."
The goal was philosophically or even Karmatically-consistent, given Vanwynsberghe's unselfish distribution of the puck through the game's three scheduled periods. What went around in regulation time came back around in OT via assistance on a Dayton Franklin blast from the left point. Russell made the initial save, but Vanwynsberghe cruised through the slot, pounced on the rebound, as mentioned, pulling back slightly on the left wing to give himself a better shooting lane, before roofing the game-winner - and making Lions midget goalie Kurtis Fuller at least the second-happiest Tillsonburg player on the ice.
"I hate overtime," admitted Fuller, whose efforts between the pipes were a significant factor in extending the game into an extra period, and ultimately, victory. "I'm just glad it didn't go to a shootout."
Paris's Zac Bowlby had opened scoring at the 5:10 mark of the (10-minute) second period, assisted by Curtis Jones. Vanwynsberghe, whose is signed with the Lions midgets LL squad, but who also APs with Tillsonburg's midget rep entry, responded, unassisted, 34 seconds later.
Vanwynsberghe has certainly been an addition to the team, says coach Dave Moore, not only as a standout during the game.
"Other than his skills on the ice, it's his leadership as well - always keeps things positive and up tempo."
The Lions midgets made the final of their previous tournament as well said Fuller, losing to the host Woolwich squad.
"It was a good game," said Fuller, who says Tillsonburg may have learned something from the experience. "You always go harder when it's a home game."
Fuller denied a quality Paris scoring chance in the final minute of regulation time, and despite the tenuous nature of sudden-victory OT, Vanwynsberghe said Tillsonburg headed into the extra period with confidence.
"Just pushing the pressure," he said. "We were all like, 'we're putting one in.'"
Tillsonburg had opened the Max Partlo Memorial Tournament draw with an 8-0 victory over Aylmer that morning, paced offensively by Christopher Reinhart with two goals and two assists, a pair of goals and a helper from Vanwynsberghe, Michael Oliveira's goal and two assists and one of each from Josh Ash. Jesse Haggith and Robert Adema added a goal apiece, Riley Maertens three assists, Dylan Nutbrown a pair of helpers and Travis Puhr and Chandler Kendall one apiece. Fuller picked up the shutout.
The Lions midgets cruised into the final on the strength of a 4-1 semi-final victory over Dorchester, in which Oliveira netted a hat-trick and an assist, Franklin a goal and two assists, Vanwynsberghe a trio of helpers and Jason Vanthuyne and Puhr one helper each.
"It was a group effort to get this far in the tournament," said Fuller, describing the championship game as "probably my toughest all year."
Paris was certainly a solid squad said coach Moore, well managed, moving the puck well and 'hard' in the corner, but credited his players with 'wanting it, plain and simple.
"I'd like to take some of the credit, but they're a good group of boys."