KINGSTON -- Doug Gilmour learned an important lesson and then celebrated a dramatic win in his much-anticipated debut as coach of his hometown Kingston Frontenacs last night.
After kicking himself for not calling a timeout in the final seconds of regulation before the Belleville Bulls scored a buzzer-beating goal to tie it, the former Maple Leafs star watched the Ontario Hockey League's last-place Frontenacs win 5-4 in overtime on a goal by Ethan Werek with 16.7 seconds left.
"It was a nice way to win," Gilmour said after the win before a noisy season-high crowd of 4,571 at the K-Rock Centre. "I wish we could have won in regulation but, hey, right now this team will take it."
Losers of nine of their previous 10 games under former coach Larry Mavety (now only the general manager), the Frontenacs played with zeal for Gilmour and rewarded him with a win over the Eastern Conference leaders when Werek crashed the net and deposited a rebound behind Bulls star goalie Mike Murphy.
"It was huge," Werek said. "Coming in here in Doug's first game, you want to get him a win. Coming on the ice, I've never been so pumped up in my life. To see a full house is just awesome. Hopefully, that puck goes beside his 1,000th-point (puck). It's pretty cool to score that goal."
The Bulls looked like they were going to spoil Gilmour's big night when Eric Tangradi scored on a rebound with less than a second left to tie it on a play that started following a faceoff with just 4.5 remaining.
The Frontenacs rallied from a 3-2 deficit on goals by Kelly Geoffrey and Eric Mignardi in a span of 58 seconds midway through the third.
Josh Brittain scored Kingston's other two goals against a Bulls team that had shut out the Frontenacs in their previous two games.
An energized Gilmour sure didn't look like a rookie coach, going up and down the bench to have individual talks with players and conferring with his assistants regularly.
"What I said to these guys is lots of shots and they did that," Gilmour said. "They should have been rewarded a lot more. I was pleased. It's a hard-working team."
Tangradi had two goals for Belleville, while Bryan Cameron and Cory Tanaka also scored for the Bulls.