It was another record setting night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on Saturday, March 18.
A 7-2 victory over the Kitchener Rangers for Owen Sound saw Attack captain Santino Centorame become the franchise’s all-time leader in points by a defenceman, passing Chris Bigras who previously held the mark at 155 points.
Centorame went from 154 career points to 156 by way of two assists, giving him 26 goals and 130 helpers in an Attack uniform.
Also helping pave the way for Owen Sound’s victory were Ethan Szypula, Kevin Hancock, Markus Phillips, Jonah Gadjovich, Petrus Palmu, Nick Suzuki, and Cordell James who all had multi-point games.
The Attack would face some adversity early, with Jonah Gaadjovich being called for interference just 47 seconds into the contest.
The OHL’s 3rd ranked penalty kill was up to the task though, and a series of huge shot blocks by Cordell James and Trenton Bourque allowed Owen Sound to return to even strength.
And that’s when the Bears attacked.
Combining on a pretty passing play, the line of Gadjovich, Nick Suzuki, and Kevin Hancock hooked up to find the back of the net at the 5:20 mark of the period to put the home side up 1-0.
Suzuki was the triggerman on the play, scoring his 45th of the season on a snapshot from inside the circle to the left of Rangers’ goalie Luke Richardson.
After killing off another minor penalty, this one a delay-of-game call to Markus Phillips, the Attack would make good on a powerplay of their own.
After Petrus Palmu was hauled down cutting into the Rangers’ slot, the Finnish import picked up his 55th assist of the season by ripping a slapshot on net that Gadjovich eventually pushed into cage after it squeaked through Richardson’s legs. Attack captain Santino Centorame also assisted on the play, giving him his 155th point in an Owen Sound uniform, tying him with Chris Bigras for most all-time for an Attack defenceman.
Gadjovich’s goal, his 44th of the year, sent the teams to the dressing room with Owen Sound up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
But the opening frame wouldn’t end without some theatrics.
After Suzuki was run into the boards following his goal, tensions were already running high, and things nearly boiled over at the buzzer.
While the teams were given the intermission to cool off, tempers would flare back up in the middle stanza.
Just 21 seconds into the frame, Rangers’ forward Dylan Seitz bowled over Michael McNiven, drawing an immediate reaction from Jacob Friend who came to the aid of his goaltender.
Friend was given 2:00 for instigating, 5:00 for fighting, and a 10:00 misconduct on the play, while Seitz was only handed a minor for roughing.
The penalties that were assessed meant the Attack would head to a 5:00 penalty kill, and the Rangers were able to strike.
With less than a minute left in the man advantage, Riley Damiani would tap in a back door pass to make it a 2-1 lead at the 4:24 mark of the 2nd period.
The score would stay at 2-1 through a littany of powerplay chances for both teams, but eventually Cordell James would restore Owen Sound’s two goal advantage.
With 4:29 left on the clock in the 2nd period, a Markus Phillips point shot bounced off of the Kitchener goaltender’s pads and right onto the stick of James made no mistake, banging it into the back of the net. Petrus Palmu also registered an assist on the play, that came just 1:31 before Owen Sound jumped out to a 4-1 lead.
Scoring the team’s 2nd powerplay goal of the evening was Palmu, whose 40th of the year came just six seconds into the man advantage and was assisted on by Nick Suzuki and Santino Centorame.
The assist by Centorame moved him past Chris Bigras for most all-time by an Attack rearguard and sent the teams to the dressing rooms with Owen Sound up by three.
That field goal sized lead was reduced fairly early into the 3rd period though.
After Aidan Dudas was assessed a goalie interference minor just 37 ticks into the frame, Rangers’ forward Liam Peyton would redirect home his first career OHL goal to cut Owen Sound’s lead to just a pair at the 2:36 mark of the final stanza.
Owen Sound was able to restore their three goal lead though.
Just after a minor penalty to Kitchener’s Jonathon Yantsis had expired, Chase Campbell ripped a snapshot into the back of the net to make it 5-2 just past the midway point of the 3rd. Picking up his 2nd assist of the night on the play was Ethan Szypula, who sprung Campbell on the partial break with a perfect tape to tape pass.
The Attack weren’t done scoring there, either.
With 1:04 left in the game, Markus Phillips would ice the game with his 13th of the year to make it 7-2, a score that would stand as the final.
Ethan Szypula grabbed his 3rd assist of the game on the play, and Owen Sound would easily skate away to to their 48th victory of the year.
Michael McNiven recorded his 40th win of the season by turning aside 23 Kitchener shots as the Mark McDade ReMax Shots on Goal finished at 46-25 in favour of the Attack.
Cordell James was named the Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player of the Game, while the Bears would sweep the Mac Taylor Corporation 3 Stars.
Centorame was named the game’s 1st star in his record setting performance, while Petrus Palmu and Jonah Gadjovich picked up 2nd and 3rd stars respectively.
Owen Sound now concludes the regular season with a trip to Guelph to play the Storm on Sunday, Mar. 19 in a 6:30pm contest. That game can be watched live on Rogers Local 53 or listened to live on Kia of Owen Sound/Terry’s Trailer Service Bear Radio on 560 CFOS.
The next home game for the Attack is Game 1 of the opening round of the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Playoffs. Owen Sound will host a yet-to-be-determined opponent at 7:30pm on Friday, Mar. 24.
Tickets for Game 1 and 2 of the post-season can be purchased at the MacVicar & McComb ReMax Attack Box Office, online at www.attackhockey.com, or by calling 519-371-7452.
The Attack Playoffs are powered by the all new 2017 Nissan Qashqai; a real game changer coming soon to Baywest Nissan.