Tom Kuhnhackl’s goal with just 31 seconds to play forced overtime, but the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects proved more accurate in the shootout, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Saturday night at the 2013 London Rookie Tournament.
Kuhnhackl’s bomb from the left side zipped past netminder Christopher Gibson and went through the far side of the netting. The goal was a long time coming for Kuhnhackl, who missed the majority of the 2012-13 season to injury.
“I knew there was like 20 seconds left, so I just shot it on net…I didn’t have a good game, so it was just good to get on the board,” said Kuhnhackl. “My last goal was like nine months back, so it was just nice to get the monkey off the back.”
Head coach John Hynes had a chance to see Kuhnhackl’s play briefly in Wilkes-Barre last season, where he appeared in just 11 games before suffering the season-ending injury.
“[The goal] was real important for him. That’s what we expect him to do,” Hynes said. “He has the ability to be a high end offensive player. For him to be out there in that situation and have the puck on his stick, to be able to score the goal with a great shot, it’s great for him.”
Scott Harrington, playing on his junior team’s home rink, opened the scoring at 6:25 of the first period. His shot was ripped low from the point on an early power play, and elicited huge cheers from the London Knights fans in attendance.
That goal triggered a pair of fights in the following seconds, with Liam O’Brien duking it out with Jamie DeVane, and Adam Payerl dropping the gloves against David Broll.
Matt Rupert, one half of the twin brother tandem on the Maple Leafs roster, tied the score late in the first by poking home a rebound off of a Tyler Biggs shot.
Jayson Megna put the Pens back in front in the second frame, swatting a backhander past a sprawled Gibson, who had made a slew of saves in the preceeding seconds.
Eric Hartzell replaced starter Matt Murray in the Penguins net midway through the game, and minutes later saw Fabrice Herzog capitalize on a good chance from in close to tie the score at 2-2 with 5:22 to play in the middle period.
Andrew Crescenzi tip home a shot just past Hartzell’s glove at 11:46 of the third period to give the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game, before Kuhnhackl knotted the game.
Olli Maatta had the best Pittsburgh chance in overtime, but Gibson made an incredible save on the defenseman’s one-timer from the slot to force the shootout.
Jean-Sebastien Dea scored on the Penguins second chance, but that was the only puck that would find the cage for the Penguins. Stuart Percy and Brad Ross scored in the second and fourth rounds respectively to give the Leafs the victory.
The Penguins play their final game of the tourney on Sunday afternoon, when they meet the Chicago Blackhawks at 2pm. Tune in to Penguins Radio 24/7 to listen to Mike O’Brien and Phil Bourque call the action.
Penguins lines: Kuhnhackl-Dea-Rowney | Uher-Megna-Brace | O’Brien-Marcantuoni-Payerl | Simmonds-Rankin-Nejezchleb
Penguins defensive pairings: Dumoulin-Seymour | McNeill-Pouliot | Maatta-Harrington
1st PERIOD SCORING: PIT – (PP) Scott Harrington (Dea, Dumoulin) 6:25 | TOR (PP) Matt Ruppert (Tyler Biggs, Ryan Rupert) 15:40
1st PERIOD PENALTIES: TOR – Kevin Raine (2 – Tripping) 4:44 | TOR – Jamie DeVane (5 – Fighting) 6:26 | PIT – Liam O’Brien (5 – Fighting) 6:26 | TOR – David Broll (5 – Fighting) 6:28 | PIT – Adam Payerl (5 – Fighting) 6:28 | PIT – Tom Kuhnhackl (2 – Holding) 13:47 | PIT – Adam Payerl (2 – High Sticking) 18:16 | PIT – Clark Seymour (2 – Roughing) 18:21 | TOR – Matt Ruppert (2 – Roughing) 18:21
2nd PERIOD SCORING: PIT – Jayson Megna (Carter Rowney, Clark Seymour) 7:23 | TOR – Fabrice Herzog (Ross, Matt Ruppert) 14:38
2nd PERIOD PENALTIES: TOR – Trevor Murphy (2 – Cross Checking) 15:29 | PIT – Tom Kuhnhackl (2 – Charging) 16:05 | PIT – Dominik Uher (2 – Roughing) 19:29 | TOR – Tyler Biggs (2-Roughing) 19:29
3rd PERIOD SCORING: TOR – Andrew Crescenzi (Jamie Devane, Stuart Percy) 11:46 | PIT – Tom Kuhnhackl (Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot) 19:39
3rd PERIOD PENALTIES: PIT – Adam Payerl (2 – Delay of Game) 3:05 | TOR – Bench (2 – Too Many Men) 8:08 | PIT – Jayson Megna (2 – Goaltender Interference) 13:45 | PIT – Dominik Uher (2 - Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 17:56| TOR – David Broll (2 - Unsportsmanlike Conduct ) 17:56
OT SCORING: None
OT PENALTIES: None
Tom Kuhnhackl - No Ryan Rupert - No
Jean-Sebastien Dea – Yes Stuart Percy – Yes
Jayson Megna – No Matt Rupert – No
Derrick Pouliot – No Brad Ross - Yes
GOALS BY PERIOD
1st 2nd 3rd OT SO F
PIT 1 1 1 0 0 3
TOR 1 1 1 0 1 4
SHOTS BY PERIOD
1st 2nd 3rd OT SO F
PIT 8 13 5 1 0 27
TOR 11 10 9 2 1 33
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