John Purves' goal on a penalty shot with 54 seconds remaining in regulation enabled the Baltimore Skipjacks to play a 2-2 overtime tie with the Newmarket Saints last night in an American Hockey League game before 3,829, the largest Sunday night crowd of the season, at the Baltimore Arena.
Jeff Serowik's goal with 3 minutes, 33 seconds remaining, gave Newmarket a 2-1 lead. Jim Hrivnak never had a chance on the go-ahead goal as Serowik wristed a shot from the right circle past the Baltimore goalie who was screened on the play.
With one minute remaining, Skipjacks coach Rob Laird pulled Hrivnak in favor of a sixth attacker and with 54 seconds left, Saints goalie Alan Bester knocked the goal off its magnetic moorings. Referee Dave Jackson ruled the act was intentional and awarded the Skipjacks a penalty shot.
Purves took the puck at center ice, skated in on Bester, who committed to the right side, and Purves ripped the puck into the left corner of the net for the tying goal.
"I said to myself while I was waiting to take the shot that if the goalie came out, I'd deke him, and if he stayed in, I'd try for a corner," said Purves. "I started moving toward him and he came out. Then he started going back in. I've been told that if a goalie is going backward he can't move his feet, and I shot the puck for the left corner to his stick side.
"It was great to score a goal, and we needed that point very badly at this time. I don't know who knocked the goal off its moorings, and I don't think it was Bester. I came around the goal with the puck, and he was head on with me when the goal came off. I think it was someone from the other side of the cage. I'm just glad someone did it."
The teams played a five-minute overtime period that was anticlimatic after Purves' heroics.
"I never had any doubt that I'd go with John Purves," said Laird. "He shoots the puck as well as anyone on this club. He has a great pair of hands, and I like the way he handles pressure. He got the job done tonight.
"Purves was our best forward the first several weeks of the season and then was called up to the Capitals. He got injured, and that's the reason he seems to be struggling as far as scoring goes. But he comes to play every night."
"It's one-on-one, you against me in a penalty shot situation," said Bester. "This time Purves beat me, and the next time maybe I'll win. They say it's most exciting play in hockey and I'm sure everybody here got a thrill tonight."