Facing elimination in front of a crowd that braved the blustery winter conditions on Sunday, Apr. 15, the Owen Sound Attack knew they needed their best effort.
And the 3063 fans that opted to come to the game despite the intense winter storm got just that.
A 7-1 throttling of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds was just what the doctor ordered, as Owen Sound successfully forced a deciding 7th game back up in north on Tuesday night.
A fast paced, physical opening period of hockey saw the Attack dominate until a turnover at the Sault Ste. Marie blueline allowed the Hounds to turn the other way.
Finishing off the passing play for the Soo was Barrett Hayton, who made it 1-0 for the visitors at 14:41 of the frame.
The Attack weren’t long to answer, though, and with Alan Lyszczarczyk and Noah Carroll in the box for offsetting minors, Trent Bourque scored the 1st, and biggest goal of his OHL career.
Picking up a bouncing puck just inside the Sault Ste. Marie blueline, Bourque hammered a blast past Matthew Vilallta to tie the game with 4:31 to play in the opening frame.
The game remained tied at one through the end of the 1st, but the Attack needed just 1:34 of action into the 2nd period to take the lead.
Parked in front of the net, Jonah Gadjovich became an immovable object and a perfectly placed shot by Nick Suzuki was tipped into the back of the net by the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect, giving him his 1st goal of the post season and a 2-1 lead.
And that goal was just the 1st in a flurry of Attack goals in the middle stanza.
Just before the midway point of the game, the Attack’s powerplay showed up after going 1-for-8 in Game 5 up in Sault Ste. Marie.
Some quick passing by Sean Durzi and Aidan Dudas allowed Kevin Hancock to get wide open at the side of the net, and tap in his 7th of the post season to make it 3-1.
Things then ramped up as the clock passed 3:00 to play in the 2nd.
Jonah Gadjovich found a streaking Ethan Szypula with a perfect headman pass, and the overage forward made no mistake, winding up and absolutely hammering a slapshot past Vilallta to make it 4-1 and end the Greyhounds’ keeper’s evening.
The Attack weren’t done there either.
After Tyler Johnson was inserted into the cage, Owen Sound took it to him early.
A flurry of shots just 47 seconds after he was put into the net ended with Brett McKenzie banking the puck off of Johnson’s back and across the line for a 5-1 lead. Assisting on the final goal of the 2nd were Ethan Szypula and Alan Lyszczarczyk.
Lyszczarczyk continued to help the Attack pile it on in the 3rd, stealing the puck in the Soo slot before undressing Tyler Johnson with a pair of moves and roofing the puck to make it 6-1 at the 7:48 mark of the frame.
The unassisted tally stood as the penultimate goal of the tilt, with Aidan Dudas capping off the victory by snapping a wrister past a down and out Johnson with exactly 3:00 left in the action to seal the win.
Trent Bourque picked up Mac Taylor Corporation 1st Star honours on the evening, in a game that saw Owen Sound sweep all of the post game awards.
Mack Guzda was named the game’s 2nd star, while Nick Suzuki was tabbed as the 3rd star. Jonah Gadjovich picked up Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player of the Game.
The Mark McDade Chestnut Park Shots on Goal concluded at 46-25 for the Attack on the evening, as Mack Guzda was stellar all night en route to picking up his 1st career Ontario Hockey League Playoff win.
The two teams will now hit the road for Game 7, which will take place on Tuesday night, beginning at 7:07pm in Sault Ste. Marie.
Fans can listen to the game live on Kia of Owen Sound/Terry’s Trailer Service Bear Radio on 560 CFOS or watch live on Rogers Local 53.
This season of Attack Hockey is brought to you by Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers and Bertrand & Muzzell Paralegal Services.