May 24, 2011
Huberdeau may have scored the winner, but the real hero was DeSerres in net
Burkie brings out the boo birds ... Binnington outstanding in goal, too
By MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency
|Attack forward Gemel Smith tries to put one past Sea Dogs goaltender Jacob DeSerres at the Hersey Centre in Mississauga, Ont., May 23, 2011. (DAVE THOMAS/QMI Agency)
MISSISSAUGA - Jonathan Huberdeau was eerily quiet all night.
The No. 5 ranked player by the Central Scouting Bureau for this upcoming NHL draft was all but unheard from until his team needed him most Monday. He scored with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first overtime to secure his Saint John Sea Dogs a 3-2 win against the Owen Sound Attack.
Huberdeau took home the hero honours, but were it not for goaltender Jacob DeSerres, Huberdeau would not have had the opportunity.
DeSerres, after being beaten twice early in the game, shut the door on the Owen Sound attack allowing his Sea Dogs time to solve Binnington.
Solving the Attack goalie was no easy task either. Binnington and DeSerres were every bit the story in this one as both teams fired enough rubber at the opposing net that the 3-2 final was nothing short of shocking.
As Saint John coach Gerrard Gallant said after the game, it was much more like a 6-5 game and would have been were it not for the outstanding netminders.
DeSerres was between the pipes and on the losing end of a 9-1 final in last year’s Memorial Cup as a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
When Brandon made the decision to go younger in the net this season, DeSerres was shipped to Saint John and the overage netminder couldn’t be happier.
“The character in that room is unbelievable,” DeSerres said. “We never give up. We always fight for our lives and do whatever we can to win. It’s amazing to be a part of something like this.”
Personally, DeSerres knows he’s fortunate to be in the situation he is.
“It’s incredible. Not too many people get a second chance like this,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure I make the most of it.”
DeSerres stopped 45 of the 47 shots that came his way. After the first period when he let in two (both were deflected) goals, the Attack did not get another by him over their next 36 shots.
Binnington, the 17-year-old Richmond Hill native, has nothing to be ashamed of. As head coach Mark Reeds pointed out in his post-game press conference, Binnington deserved much better and would have got it had his forwards buried even one more of their stellar opportunities.
Particularly stuck in Reeds’ craw was a 5-on-3 advantage that DeSerres and the Sea Dogs somehow escaped without damage.
Based on his play and his coach’s responses, look for Binnington to be back in the net when the Attack resume Wednesday against the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.
Not so chippy
After the chippiness of the Mississauga-Saint John game to start the tournament, the Attack-Sea Dogs began the game in comparatively downright tranquil fashion. Four minors in the first, three for hooking and one interference were it until a scramble in Saint Johns’ goalie Jacob DeSerres’ net. DeSerres did well to keep the puck out but a pile up in his crease caused tempers to flare just before the end of the period. Mike Halmo, who failed to convert the goalmouth feed took the opportunity to jump on DeSerres’ head in the melee. That’s when all hell broke loose. Mike Thomas, the Sea Dogs bearded captain, went looking for a willing combatant while the scrum went on in the crease. He was turned down flat by Andrew Shaw, who was subsequently taken down by Thomas. Then, Thomas started throwing punches at the nearest member of the Attack as the referees and linemen closed in to break things up. Somehow the Attack still wound up on the power play as Simon Despres’ slashing penalty put them a man down. Four roughing penalties, two by each team from the melee, cancelled each other out. That was the only serious skirmish of the night.
A Brian Burke sighting in one of the private boxes that was put up on the video board brought out more boo birds than anyone willing to show the Leafs architect any appreciation ... An untimely penalty by Owen Sound's Andrew Shaw cost the Attack a golden opportunity to break the game open in the first. Already with a lead and on the power play, the Attack appeared to catch another break when Nathan Beaulieu broke his stick. But before the Attack could even consider taking advantage of that, Shaw was whistled for interference in front of the net, negating both the man advantage and the shorthanded Sea Dogs key penalty killer without a stick to use.
From the hash marks
Listen to Gerrard Gallant long enough and you begin to wonder whether the man is being paid too much money. To hear Gallant tell his team that they're so talented and so naturally gifted, his only real job is making sure they put forth enough effort to let that abundance of talent shine through. “We know we can score goals,” Gallant said. “We know we are never out of a hockey game.”