By Nicholas Carafa, @ncarafa
Prior to the 6th Annual Scotiabank GTHL Top Prospects Game yesterday at Buckingham Arena, celebrity coach Nick Kypreos joked that Doug MacLean had never beaten him in their time coaching these events.
That all changed on Tuesday night.
With former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Wendel Clark also on the bench, Team MacLean-Clark managed to put the first blemish on Kypreos’ GTHL coaching record. The club erased a 2-0 deficit with three goals in the third period to record a 3-2 win in the annual showcase event.
Early in the game, Joseph Gareffa and Simon Boyko were sprung fora two-on-one after receiving a beautiful stretch pass up the middle, with the latter finishing a one-timer to open the scoring for Team Kypreos-Graves. It looked like it was going to be a long night for Team MacLean-Clark as just under five minutes later, Toronto Jr. Canadiens forward Kirill Maksimov powered down the left side and cut to the net to beat Mississauga Reps goaltender Mario Peccia to make it 2-0.
A misleading boxscore showed the score unchanged through two periods, but the up-tempo pace had the jam-packed Buckingham Arena crowd “ooing” and “awing” as the teams traded chances, hits and power-play opportunities. Brendan Bonello, the eventual Team Kypreos-Graves MVP, played the first half of the game and stifled the blue squad by getting to pucks through traffic and kicking rebounds out of harm’s way.
North York Rangers goaltender Jett Alexander finished the game for Team Kypreos-Graves and played just as well, but the entire third period belonged to the MacLean-Clark squad. The club took control of momentum after towering Don Mills Flyers forward Jason Robertson scored two goals in eight minutes to cue the comeback for the boys in blue.
A seemingly inevitable comeback became a reality when Toronto Marlboros forward Kody Clark found himself alone in the slot and buried the game-winning goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
After guiding his team to such a win, let’s just say MacLean holds bragging rights – until next year, that is.