In his own words, Alex Cordero of the Northwest Territories had a bad bantam boys hockey gold ulu game and probably shouldn’t have been on the ice late in the dying seconds.
Good thing he was because he ended up becoming a hero.
Cordero scored the winning goal to help Team NT to a 4-3 win over Alberta North on Friday, snapping home a wrist shot with 9.9 seconds remaining in regulation time.
“That’s probably the biggest goal I’ve ever scored,” said Cordero. “My game at the start wasn’t too good. I picked up slowly but surely. I just joined the rush, the puck came to me and I just shot it.”
The game was literally a back-and-forth affair with Hay River’s Declan Munro opening the scoring via a point shot that found its way through to beat Alberta North goaltender Thomas Sellin. Jacobi Rouleau evened the game early in the second period before Tyler Caines restored the NT’s lead. That was followed by Joseph Gerwatoski tying the game again after Cordero coughed up the puck in neutral ice.
Carter McLeod gave NT the lead once again on a solo effort, walking through four Alberta North players before roofing it on Sellin. But Gerwatoski evened it up again on the power-play midway through the third.
And then the heroics.
The NT’s Logan Cunningham went on one last rush and lost control of the puck. An Alberta North defenceman tried to clear it but the puck ended up on Cordero’s stick, which he promptly rifled top-shelf past Sellin for the gold ulu-winner.
Team NT coach R.J. Carr said it was a classic case of redemption for Cordero.
“He got burned twice in this game but great players always bounce back, and he did,” Carr said.
Cordero was one of those rare examples of a peewee player playing up an age group and NT coach Shawn Talbot said he’s been a solid player all tournament long.
“He picked up two goals for us in our win (against Nunavut in the semifinal),” he said. “He’s just a special kid with a special skill-set.”
In defeat, Alberta North head coach Simon Juches said it felt like a sudden-death kind of game late in regulation.
“We got down to the last two minutes and if felt like overtime,” he said. “Just an unfortunate play we made there and it ends up on the wrong guy’s stick and in the back of the net. Overall, I felt this was our best game of the week and at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for. It’s tough but it is what it is.”