Facing the unenviable task of being down 2-0 to one of the hottest teams in the Ontario Hockey League, Tim Gettinger scored what could be the biggest goal as a member of the Soo Greyhounds.
The veteran forward scored 1:15 into overtime to give the Greyhounds a 5-4 victory over the Owen Sound Attack, evening the best-of-7 series between the two clubs at one game apiece heading to Owen Sound.
“We knew we couldn’t go down to Owen Sound down 2-0,” Gettinger said.
After Hayden Verbeek forced an Owen Sound player off the puck below the goalline, the overage forward hit Gettinger in the slot. The Greyhounds captain proceeded to beat Owen Sound goaltender Olivier Lafreniere 5-hole to give the Greyhounds the victory.
“Beeker made a great play and he’s been doing it all year,” Gettinger said. “He got the puck behind the net, made a great play and I was lucky enough to put it in."
“Beeker out-battled his guy and made a really great play to Timmy,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister.
The game saw an improvement from the Greyhounds, who were not pleased with Thursday’s 4-1 loss in game one.
“We competed the whole game,” Gettinger said. “In the first game, that was something that was lacking.”
“We set the pace early and we were more competitive,” Bannister said.
“It was a much better game than we played yesterday and we’re going to have to build on it,” Bannister added.
Bannister also said he was happier with the Greyhounds puck management in game two after the team struggled in the series opener on Thursday night.
Verbeek paced the Greyhounds with two goals and an assist. Gettinger and Taylor Raddysh had a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds. Defenceman Rasmus Sandin assisted on a pair of goals. Morgan Frost also scored for the Greyhounds.
Goaltender Matthew Villalta made 28 saves.
Brett McKenzie, Maksim Sushko, Brady Lyle and Nick Suzuki scored for the Attack, who came from behind three times in the game. That included Suzuki’s game-tying goal with 1:25 to go in regulation time on the power play.
“We showed a lot of character,” said Owen Sound Coach Todd Gill. “We could have easily folded and said, ‘Well, we’ll get it back in Owen Sound.’
“It’s the resilience of this group,” Gill added. “They’ve fought through a lot of adversity this year and stood up to it.”
Goaltender Olivier Lafreniere made 34 saves for the Attack.
The series shifts to Owen Sound for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday night next week at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
“It’s one of the hardest rinks to play in in the league,” Gettinger said. “We have to go down there and make sure we stick to our game plan and don’t get away from anything that we do well.”
The series will then return to Sault Ste. Marie for game five next Friday.
In other action around the OHL on Friday night, Andrei Svechnikov had a pair of goals as the Barrie Colts beat the Kingston Frontenacs 4-1, taking a 2-0 series lead into game three in Kingston on Sunday. Leo Lazarev made 40 saves for the Colts.
In Kitchener, a trio of third period goals helped the Kitchener Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Sarnia Sting to take a 1-0 series lead in the other Western Conference semifinal. Logan Stanley and Connor Bunnaman had a goal and an assist each for the Rangers. Justin Fazio made 36 saves for the Sting.