Jason Robertson went back to a familiar move and now the Niagara IceDogs are on top in their OHL Eastern Conference semifinal against the Oshawa Generals.
The OHL regular season scoring champion scored just 4:14 into overtime to give the IceDogs a 3-2 win over Generals in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series, Apr. 5, at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
Game 2 of the series is back in St. Catharines on Apr. 7 at 2 p.m.
Robertson, who led the OHL with 117 points, took a pass from Ivan Lodnia at the side of the net and appeared as though he was going to go around the net, but instead stuffed it in on the short side, surprising Oshawa goalie Kyle Keyser for the overtime winner.
The Dallas Stars prospect said he came up short on two or three opportunities to tuck it in earlier in the game, while another went wide.
Robertson didn’t give up on the move, though, and made good on it in overtime with Niagara on the power play.
“I thought about doing it again,” the IceDogs winger said on the IceDogs website. “Keyser is an aggressive goalie. He plays really well, that’s how he stops all those shots, but I was able to tuck it in. That (move) was in the back of my mind.”
Ben Jones and Drew Hunter also scored for Niagara, which finished second in the conference and just three points ahead of Oshawa. Goaltender Stephen Dhillon made 23 saves to pick up his fifth playoff win in six games for the IceDogs.
Cole Resnick and Brandon Saigeon scored for the Generals, who led twice in the contest. Keyser was outstanding in net for Oshawa, kicking aside 47 of the 50 shots he faced.
Resnick put the Generals on top just 13 seconds in when Kyle MacLean slid a cross-slot pass to him and the second-year winger, who had just six goals all year but has three in the playoffs, ripped a high-rising shot over the right shoulder of Dhillon.
Jones tied it on the power play just 1:32 later when he deflected a Lodnia point shot past Keyser.
The Generals would put themselves back on top a little less than three minutes into the second period when Nando Eggenberger found Saigeon in the slot and the overage forward backhanded it past Dhillon.
Hunter would even things up again, this time taking a pass from Matthew Philip and firing it over the blocker of a stretched-out Keyser.
Robertson would finish off the comeback in overtime and help Niagara hang on to home-ice advantage.
“It’s a big momentum swing,” he said of winning the series opener. “If they would have scored (in overtime), we’re down 0-1 in our barn so it’s great for us. It’s great for our team. That showed a lot of character, a lot of adversity in that room, so we’re just going to keep building off that.”