New faces and old tricks sent the Bayshore faithful home happy Saturday night.
A buzzer-beating 3-2 victory over the Guelph Storm improved the Attack’s record to 2-1-0-1 early in the 2019-20 campaign.
Both wins came after deflating defeats, and Saturday night’s win inside the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre was at the tail-end of a three-in-three weekend less than 24 hours after laying a goose egg in the Royal City.
“It was a huge character game for us. We knew they were going to come out hard again and we had to step up our game because we knew we didn’t really show them what we really had,” said over-age winger Matt Philip. “We definitely showed them that tonight.”
Philip scored the game-winning goal with 39 seconds left on the clock. The speedster rushed down the ice beating Guelph’s defence to Brady Lyle’s end-board bumper-pass and narrowly missed a breakaway chance. He then circled the net as the puck squirted out into the slot right onto his stick again. He wound up and slammed the disk into the back of the net.
The Bayshore Bounce strikes again.
“Obviously the boards here are live, and last year the guys here did it all the time,” he said. “It keeps teams guessing.”
Rookie goaltender Nick Chenard made 37 saves on 39 shots to record his first win in his first-career OHL start.
Chenard said Alan Letang informed him he was starting when the team got back from Guelph Friday night.
“I thought he was joking a little bit at first, then he said ‘no, no, you’re actually starting tomorrow,’” Chenard recalled. “I went home and kind of flipped out a little bit.”
Saturday morning he stretched, played mini-sticks with billet brother and fellow rookie Sam Sedley, ate a chicken parmesan dinner, and got ready for his first warm-up as a starting goaltender.
Three hours later he had an OHL win and few new lifelong memories.
“That first shot . . . my first OHL shot . . . off my blocker and wide . . . and at the end of the game . . . everyone jumped on me and I saw everyone there and they’re congratulating me. That was also huge,” he said.
Kaleb Pearson opened the scoring in the first period on the power play. The St. Marys native curled out front with the puck and snapped it over Owen Bennett’s shoulder.
After scoring six power-play goals in Barrie the Attack connected twice more Saturday night with the man advantage.
“We’re talking. We’re talking a lot on the ice and off the ice. We’re just trying to get to know each other as quick as possible and find those seams,” Philip said.
Hishon gave the credit to fellow assistant coach Jordan Hill, the arsenal’s architect.
The Attack also let in two power-play goals on the night.
“It’s early in the season so maybe penalty kills aren’t as sharp as they will be at the end of the season,” Hishon said.
Andrei Bakanov scored his second goal of the season with the man-advantage early in the second period.
Daylon Groulx notched the Attack’s second marker scooping up a rebound in front of the net for his third goal of the year.
Owen Sound looked to be in control until a Daniil Chayka point shot bounced in off Keegan Stevenson as Sergey Popov served a hooking penalty.
The game remained tied at 2-2 until Philip’s late-game tally.
Chenard had to be sharp in the final seconds as the Storm pulled their goaltender and tried to rally late. The vocal goaltender’s instructions and warnings to his defencemen echoed in the building.
He said it’s something he has carried over from his soccer goalkeeping days.
“It’s always been a part of my game,” he said. “You’re kind of the only guy who knows everyone on the field and you have eyes on everyone.”
Adam McMaster (lower body), Mark Woolley (tonsils), Nolan Seed (unknown) and Josh Samanski (foot) were all scratches Saturday night. No timetable was offered for their returns.
Brady Lyle recorded two helpers in the game. Sergey Popov assisted on Groulx’s goal and Philip picked up the lone assist on Pearson’s first-period marker.
Sophomore defender Daniil Chayka picked up two assists in the contest for Guelph.
The Attack gets some rest until they hit the road to Kitchener Friday for their first tilt against the Rangers inside the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.