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Rookie forward has now scored championship-clinching overtime goals in back-to-back years in Kensington
Chandler Wood has developed a knack for scoring big goals at Credit Union Centre in Kensington.
Wood scored championship-clinching overtime goals in back-to-back years in the same end of the same rink. The 18-year-old forward from Coleman scored 6:09 into the first 20-minute extra period to give the Island Junior Hockey League-champion Western Red Wings a 4-3 win over the host Kensington Vipers in the final of the 2019 Don Johnson Cup. It was the first-ever Atlantic junior B hockey championship won by the Red Wings.
“I’ve liked this rink ever since I started (playing with the Kensington Wild in the fall of 2016),” said Wood. “It’s an electrifying rink to play in, especially whenever it’s filled. There’s something about it that makes it click.”
Last year, Wood netted what he described at the time as “the biggest goal I’ve ever scored” 3:27 into overtime to give the Wild a 3-2 win and 4-1 series victory over the Charlottetown Pride in the provincial major midget championship series.
“It’s pretty ironic that it happened in the same rink,” said Wood. “This one definitely tops it. The Don Johnson is another step up.”
Red Wings head coach Nathan DesRoches was not surprised to see Wood deliver in the clutch.
“Chandler is a character kid,” said DesRoches. “He understands the moment, understands the game and has a really good finger on the pulse of the hockey team.
“When you get in the big situations like that, it seems like it’s those character guys who come through. He’s had an excellent year this year and it couldn’t go to a nicer guy, honestly.”
Wood, who plays on a line with fellow Wild products Isaac Knox and Isaac Callaghan, said he was in the right place at the right time on the winning goal, positioned to the left of Vipers goaltender Caleb Coyle.
“Isaac Callaghan got the puck out to me and it just squirted out right on my tape, I got a lucky bounce and put it home,” explained Wood. “It was just over the pad and under the glove.”
Wood and Coyle, who were key contributors to the Wild’s 2017 and 2018 provincial championships, hugged and had a brief chat during the traditional post-game handshakes.
“I’ve played with Caleb the last two years and I have a lot of respect for him,” said Wood. “He’s a great goalie and he kept them in a lot of games this year and he done his job extremely well for a rookie.
“I always appreciate a good goaltender.”
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