THE Vancouver North West Giants started 2013 off with a bang, claiming the prestigious Mac's Midget AAA Tournament championship for the second time in team history with a thrilling overtime victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on New Year's Day.
The Giants, a B.C. Major Midget League team made up predominantly of players from the North Shore, claimed the tournament's massive trophy with a thrilling double overtime 3-2 win over the Carolina Junior Hurricanes in the final.
Vancouver trailed 2-1 late in the game but a goal from New Westminster's Brandon Del Grosso with just 13 seconds left in the third period sent it into overtime. Both goaltenders shut the door in the first overtime - West Vancouver's Bo Didur stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced in the game - before West Vancouver's Jackson Cressey ended it with the championship goal five minutes into the second overtime period.
"No words can express (what) I'm goin through right now," Didur tweeted after the game. Giants forward Eric Mango of North Vancouver was named to the tournament's second all-star team.
The Giants went undefeated in the tournament, winning seven games in seven days against some of the best midget hockey teams in the world. This year's Mac's tournament featured 25 boys teams from across Canada as well as elite squads from the United States and the Czech Republic. The annual event is known as the best midget hockey tournament in the world.
Forward Eric Mango of North Vancouver was named to the tournament's second all-star team.
The Giants, a perennial powerhouse team in the B.C. Major Midget League, finished second in the tournament in 2007 and 2008 before finally claiming the trophy in 2009 with West Vancouver's Griffin Reinhart, the fourth overall selection in the 2012 NHL entry draft, scoring the game winner in the final.