It was a big night for young Cooper Walker at the Sleeman Centre.
Daniil Chayka won it at 2:19 into the extra hockey, cutting in alone on Attack netminder Mack Guzda and wristing it in, ruining a two-goal comeback by the visitors in the third period that saw them tie the game with 30 seconds left in regulation.
Walker, a rookie who came into the game with just one assist in his first 13 games, had a pair of helpers Friday night as the Guelph Storm downed the Owen Sound Attack 4-3 in overtime.
He also got the hard hat in the dressing room as the team's hardest working player on the night and picked up some cash as the team's top academic performer for the first half of the month.
Big smiles after a big win.
Walker said he's finally starting to get to the point where he is playing on hockey sense rather than trying to overthink this new level of hockey.
"I think so. After you get a few games under your belt and see how fast the league is, it really helps to play a few games to adjust to the speed and the level of physicality," Walker said.
"As you get used to it you try to hold onto the puck more and make more plays. A good play will come with the more confidence you get in yourself."
"I'm happy for him, he's worked hard," coach George Burnett said of Walker's night.
"It's just confidence. The pace of his game is improving like all the kids, from practicing every day," Burnett said. "He's smart. That's his biggest asset in my mind, his hockey brain."
Walker's assists were no cheapies either. Both were primary assists: one a cross-ice feed to send Pavel Gogolev in all alone to open the scoring in the second period and the other coming out of the corner and spotting Josh Wainman sliding in from the point for the one-timer.
"I saw someone in between the D and I just fired it trying to get it to him," Walker said of his first assist of the night.
The second one?
"Benny (Ben MacFarlane) made a nice pass behind the net and Wainer jumped down. I saw him in the slot and he buried it."
The Storm took advantage of a sloppy Owen Sound icing in overtime that allowed them to put fresh legs on the ice while keeping tired ones on for the Attack.
Chayka cut in off the wing after Cam Hillis won the face-off and beat Guzda.
Guelph played almost all the third period with just four defenceman. Zack Terry left in the first period with a lower leg injury and Fedor Gordeev received 17 minutes in penalties for starting a fight after a teammate was hit from behind.
"To find a way is important. I think we're learning a lot of great lessons along the way," Burnett said.
The win saw the Storm jump from seventh to second in the Western Conference standings by virtue of their taking over the division lead.
It was also Guelph's seventh win in a row.
They host the Saginaw Spirit in a rare Saturday afternoon game that starts at 4 p.m.