As soon as the puck left Jonathan Huberdeau's stick, he thought he'd blown a golden chance to send the Saint John Sea Dogs to the MasterCard Memorial Cup final.
The Sea Dogs are happy his judgment was off.
Huberdeau scored 17:35 into overtime to send the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup final after a 3-2 win over the Owen Sound Attack Monday.
Huberdeau found himself alone in the slot late in overtime and fired the puck at the Owen Sound goal. He thought his shot would miss, but he ended up beating Attack goaltender Jordan Binnington.
"I just shot the puck and I thought I'd missed it, but it hit the post and went in," Huberdeau said. "It just happened like that. I was alone in the slot. The goalie played pretty good and we had to work hard to score."
Tomas Jurco tied the game with 3:27 left in the third, as the Sea Dogs overcame a 2-0 first period deficit to set up the comeback win in a wild, back-and-forth overtime.
"We know we could come back," Huberdeau said. "We have the talent for it and that's what we did."
Stanislav Galiev had Saint John's first goal, and goaltender Jacob DeSerres made 47 saves to earn the win.
Matt Petgrave and Andrew Shaw replied for Owen Sound. Binnington made 41 saves in a losing cause in net in front of a largely pro-Attack capacity crowd at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
"It was an exciting game with a lot of quality chances for both teams," Owen Sound coach Mark Reeds said. "It comes down to an elite player scoring a huge goal."
The Sea Dogs are now 2-0-0 after opening the tournament Friday with a 4-3 win over the host Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.
Owen Sound, which beat the WHL's Kootenay Ice 5-0 on Saturday, fell to 1-1-0.
The tournament final is Sunday.
Petgrave opened the scoring for Owen Sound on a fluke goal at 6:36. The Brampton, Ont., native picked up a clearing attempt at the left point and fired a weak shot toward the net that was tipped past DeSerres by Sea Dogs defenceman Gabriel Bourret.
Then with Bourret off for hooking, Mike Hamlo's shot from the right point was deflected past DeSerres by Shaw to give Owen Sound a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Attack would have had a 3-0 lead if not for a diving glove save by Toronto native DeSerres on Cameron Brace at the edge of the crease with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the period.
Owen Sound dominated the first half of regulation play. Led by six-foot-three, 206-pound captain Garrett Wilson the Attack dished out hard hits to slow down a high-powered Sea Dogs offence that scored 324 goals during the QMJHL regular season.
"We knew they had a lot of skilled guys and they're very offensive," Wilson said. "We've heard a lot about them. They've been No. 1 in the CHL the whole year.
"We had chances to put them away but we just couldn't do it. Hopefully we run into them again."
Saint John began taking over the game, generating most of the scoring chances in the second and third periods.
The Sea Dogs cut the lead in half on the power play at 13:39 of the second. Jurco picked up the puck behind the Attack goal, took it to the corner then spun around and fired a cross-ice pass through the crease to Galiev who tipped it into the open goal.
"We're a pretty gifted offensive team," Sain John coach Gerard Gallant said. "That first goal was an unbelievable play by Jurco to Galiev, and that got the ball rolling. We can score some goals and we know we're never out of a hockey game."
Jurco then tied the game late in the third when he picked up a point shot wide off the boards and roofed it over Binnington to send the game into overtime.
Owen Sound went 1 for 7 on the power play. Saint John was 1 for 6.
Saint John takes on the Kootenay Tuesday to wrap up its round-robin play.
Owen Sound wraps up the round-robin on Wednesday when it takes on the Majors, who it beat four games to three to capture the OHL championship.
"We came in here and won the championship on their ice," Wilson. "They want some retribution and are going to be looking for revenge. We got to come out hard and hopefully play the way we did today."
Notes: Owen Sound centre Joey Hishon was scratched due to a concussion...NHL hall of famer and former Major player Dick Duff's number was retired in a pre-game ceremony.
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