Oshawa General rookie star Ritchie plays OT hero as Canada Black wins Capital City Challenge

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Published December 2, 2021 at 9:16 am

You couldn’t have written a better script for Calum Ritchie than what unfolded Wednesday night in the nation’s capital.

Unbeaten through three preliminary games at the Capital City Challenge U-17 tournament and winners -in overtime, no less – in their semi-final against Canada’s National Women’s Team, Ritchie’s Team Black found themselves down a goal with the final seconds ticking away in the gold medal game against Team Red.

Not to worry, said Ritchie and his linemate, Zach Benson, who were easily the best two players in the tournament. The Oshawa Generals rookie phenom fed the Winnipeg Ice phenom with a perfect saucer pass for the tying goal with just four-tenths of a second left and then Ritchie did it himself in the extra frame, stealing the puck in the neutral zone and going in alone to score the tournament-winning goal.

Ritchie credited the goal to “muscle memory” rather than anything planned and was still on a high when he was interviewed on local television after the game.

“Winning the gold medal and wearing the maple leaf on our chests,” he said, the smile never leaving his face. “It was the experience of a lifetime.”

Benson (7-5-12) and Ritchie (5-6-11) finished 1-2 in scoring in the tournament, which served as a replacement for the pandemic-cancelled World Under 17 Championship.

Ritchie’s celebration will be short. The Generals (9-7-3) play in Kingston (11-5-3) Friday night at the Leon’s Centre.

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