Brock McPherson proudly wears an alternate captain's "A" with the Brampton Battalion, but knows there is more that goes into the role than leading by example.
A milestone goal by McPherson lifted the Brampton Battalion back into its OHL playoff series with the Sudbury Wolves yesterday, as the Battalion registered a 4-3 victory before 2,726 at the Brampton Centre.
The 19-year-old McPherson split the defence pair of Steve Miller and Tomas Sample and thrust a shot between the legs of goalie Patrick Ehelechner with less than nine minutes remaining.
The Wolves lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series 2-1.
"It's a totally different look going back up to Sudbury now," McPherson said in reference to Game 4 on Wednesday. "That being my first (career) playoff goal (in 12 games), it was nice to get it. I threw it at the net and I don't think (Ehelechner) was expecting a shot with the rolling puck."
Tyler Harrison, Luch Aquino and Ryan Oulahen scored power-play goals for Brampton while Wojtek Wolski assisted on all three. Bobby Chaumont, Kevin Baker and Benoit Pouliot replied for Sudbury.
The Battalion appeared to be in big trouble after two periods. For the second time in the series on home ice, Brampton let a 2-1 lead become a 3-2 deficit and was down by that score entering the third. The picture looked even more bleak when Brampton managed just two shots on a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Pouliot early in the period.
But Oulahen blasted a shot between Ehelechner's pads at 9:57 and McPherson found a hole in the same spot for the winner less than two minutes later. Brampton was 1-19-4 during the regular season when it trailed after 40 minutes.
"It was a huge gut-check time for us," said Battalion goalie Daren Machesney, who stopped 28 shots. "The first two games, we really didn't show up and I think everybody just decided: 'No more messing around, let's go play hockey."
The undisciplined manner that helped the Wolves lead the conference in penalty minutes during the regular season crept into the series for the first time. And that did not get past coach Mike Foligno.
"A good team like Brampton, a majority of their success comes from their power play," Foligno said. "I think we are still in a good situation, but we have to make sure we respect that and be more disciplined in the next game."