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Columbus native wins NHL World Gaming Championship title

'Top Shelf Cookie' Matt Gutkoski captures world championship, $50,000

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Matthew Gutkoski is on top of the world.  

Representing his Columbus Blue Jackets the whole way, the Columbus-area native and Ohio State student won the title at the NHL World Gaming Championships on Tuesday in Las Vegas, officially crowning him the best NHL 19 player in the world.

Completing a red-hot run that saw Gutkoski rise from solid player to among the elite gamers in the world, the Olentangy Orange alumnus defeated John 'JohnWaynee' Casagranda in the final by winning the third and final game of their series watched by tens of thousands on the online streaming site Twitch. 

With the win, not only did Gutkoski -- known by the gamer tag 'Top Shelf Cookie' -- win the world title, the 21-year-old takes home $50,000. 

MORE ON COOKIE: Gutkoski takes part in CBJ's inaugural NHL 19 tournament

"This is unbelievable," he said before thanking his family and friends in attendance. "Look at all the support from everybody here today. It's something I appreciate. I couldn't have imagined this (win) being possible." 

In a back-and-forth final game of the series, the teams were tied at 3 when Gutkoski -- playing as the Blue Jackets -- scored a goal wraparound goal with Gabriel Landeskog with 4:51 left for the winning tally. (The teams used players claimed in a dispersal draft that took place June 5 in which the six competitors chose their squads.) 

Tweet from @ArdaOcalTV: Good morning @BlueJacketsNHL fans. The @NHL @EASPORTSNHL esports World Champion was raised in your city. He goes to (the) @OhioState. So is one of the game���s best and brightest leaders and content creators.Safe to say in 2019, Columbus is the Chel Capital of the World. pic.twitter.com/dI7oPgjchz

Gutkoski won the first game of the best-of-three series 3-0 before Casagranda forced a final game with a 3-2 victory. 

"It's just a roller coaster of emotions," Gutkoski said. "John would say the same thing. It was up and down for both of us. Not the prettiest goals, but at the end of the day, if I came out on top, I'm all right with that. I'll take the W." 

By virtue of winning the U.S. championship over Casagranda earlier this month, Gutkoski advanced straight to the semifinals of the event, where he beat Canadian champion Karl 'Mg x Nuclear' Caslib in a 2-1 series.  

Casagranda, meanwhile, beat the Finnish champ and No. 1 overall seed Erik 'Eki' Tammenpää, the defending world champion, in the semifinals to set up the rematch of their U.S. championship match. 

Gutkoski, who was congraulated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after the win, will attend the NHL Awards ceremony tonight, also in Las Vegas. 

Fans can watch the finals right now at Twitch.tv/NHL or Friday night in a telecast on NBC Sports Network that will be shown immediately following the first round of the NHL draft. Popular streamer and Columbus native Andrew "Nasher" Telfer is on the call.  

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