Tag Bertuzzi was starting to wonder if it would ever happen.
The second overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League draft had gone scoreless in his first 12 games. There were chances, plenty of them, but the puck just wouldn’t go in.
Finally, with two seconds left in the second period Friday night at the Sleeman Centre, it happened.
Bertuzzi’s wrist shot from the faceoff circle beat Erie Otters goaltender Troy Timpano, sending his teammates into a wild celebration and putting a beaming smile on the third Bertuzzi to score in a Storm uniform, following dad Todd and cousin Tyler.
The Storm would go on to win the game 5-
“It’s fun to get the first one. It’s a really good feeling to get your first OHL goal,” said Bertuzzi.
“There’s a lot of relief, especially after going through the first 12 games without a goal. To get the first one in a win is a good feeling.”
He was robbed earlier in the game on a wraparound, but was robbed by Timpano.
Unfortunately his dad Todd, who makes most home and away games, wasn’t at this one. He was in
“Hopefully with that goal comes more confidence and more points,” Bertuzzi said.
His goal put the Storm up 4-3 at the time.
But Storm defenceman Ryan Merkley put the puck over the glass with 1:54 left in regulation and the Otters, with the goalie on the bench to give them a two-man advantage, tied the game with 13.4 seconds left on the clock.
That set up Ralph’s heroics.
With Storm defenceman Garrett McFadden holding the puck in the corner, Ralph snuck behind his check and redirected a perfect feed from McFadden for his 11th goal of the season.
Ralph, who came into training camp fighting for a spot on the team, now has 11 goals on the season and has arguably been the team’s most consistent forward.
“It definitely feels great. Training all summer I was just hoping to come into this year and be a key player and things are working out good,” Ralph said.
“My mentality towards things has always been to work as hard as you can. Things work out for the best when you work hard.”
Friday’s game had long stretches of sloppy, scrappy play, but sometimes you have to find a way to win those ones too.
“Good teams always find a way to do those things, even when you get down,” Ralph said. “We know that if we stick to our game plan, or if we go back to it, it’s going to get us more offence and it did.”
The Storm plays in