It's one of the oldest cliches in hockey.
Just put the puck on the net and you never know what will happen.
That's what the Toledo Storm did last night at the Sports Arena, and what happened was a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory over Roanoke in Game 1 of their first-round East Coast Hockey League playoff series. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is 7:30 tonight at the Sports Arena.
Moving between the circles with his back to Express goalie Daniel Berthiaume, Storm wing Jason Norrie redirected a blue line slapper by defenseman Chris Cava 4:56 into overtime, setting off an eruption of sound from the crowd of 2,437.
Berthiaume refused to comment afterwards, but Norrie had plenty to say.
“I just put my stick down and thank God it went off of me,” Norrie said. “The second goal was the same way. We just got a lucky shot through.”
It was the lucky shot, which resulted from two good plays, that forced overtime.
Trailing 2-1 with 1:53 remaining in regulation, Storm center Jeff Johnstone won a faceoff in the Roanoke end. Toledo forward James Patterson picked an Express player into traffic, allowing defenseman Chris Bogas to grab the puck and fire an apparently harmless shot at the Roanoke net from the blue line.
The puck went in.
“I just threw it on net,” Bogas said. “That's all Jason did, too, and it worked for both of us.”
Said Norrie: “As soon as (Bogas) scored, you could just feel the uplift on the bench. It was unbelievable.”
So was what appeared to be the game winning goal by Roanoke in the second period.
Toledo goalie Mark Bernard said the Express didn't score. Referee Wes MacCauley said it did.
With less than three minutes remaining in the period and the score tied at 1, Express captain Mike Peron won a draw from Shawn Maltby to the right of Bernard. Peron sent the puck to the point where Anthony Belza snapped it toward the Storm net. Crashing the net, Peron tipped the puck into the air.
Bernard caught it with his glove while falling backward.
MacCauley immediately signaled a goal.
Bernard erupted in protest and had to be restrained by a linesman from going after MacCauley. The netminder then pounded his stick on the ice in protest. He picked up a two-minute unsportsmanlike penalty.
“It didn't go in,” Bernard said. “That's the bottom line. I looked at the goal judge and he was shaking his head. (MacCauley) took it upon himself in a big game to make that call.
“I thought for a big game, the refereeing wasn't up to snuff.”
But the outcome was for Storm coach Dennis Holland.
“I figured it wouldn't be a pretty goal that won it,” Holland said.
“I'm not sure if I'm ready yet,” Miller said. “There was some hoarseness when I finished the period.”
Miller would like to rejoin the Devils for the first round of the playoffs next week.