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Little scores OT winner at Heritage Classic

Jets centre scores first goal of the season

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

REGINA, SK - Heading into the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, high winds were supposed to play a factor for the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. Instead, flurries caused a lot of bouncing pucks for both teams especially in the second period at Mosaic Stadium.

The Jets and Flames still provided a lot of entertainment for the 33 thousand plus fans in attendance in a 2-1 come from behind overtime victory for the Jets.

Josh Morrissey tied the game at one with a power play goal with 4:11 left in the third period and Bryan Little scored his first goal of the season at 3:04 of overtime giving the Jets another come from behind win.

"I felt like it was one of those games where I pretty much didn't have any chances," said Little who had two shots on goal.

"Then to score on a two-on-one like that in overtime. I'll admit I really didn't do anything. I just went to the net and put my stick on the ice and you know Kyle (Connor) made a great pass."

Video: POSTGAME | Morrissey and Little

Little was injured in 2016 so he did not get the chance to take part of the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg and missed the first nine games of the 2019-20 season. So with Little scoring the winner in another comeback win for the Jets was just perfect to Blake Wheeler.

"It's real special to see Bryan get rewarded," said Wheeler.

"You know he's had to fight through some things, bad luck at the beginning of the season. Always a guy who does it the right way, works incredibly hard. Great veteran presence and it's good to see guys like that get rewarded."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

After a scoreless first, the Flames opened the scoring with 5:13 left in the second on the power play, off a scramble in front of the Jets net. Gaudreau shoveled a pass across to Elias Lindholm who tapped in the first goal of the game to make it 1-0 Calgary.

The Jets challenged that there was a high stick earlier in the sequence and from one of the replay angles it did indeed appear that Matthew Tkachuk knocked the puck down with a high stick. The NHL Situation Room ruled that 'Tkachuk's stick was at or below the normal height of his shoulders when he contacted the puck prior to Lindholm's goal'.

"I'm looking at it and I'm thinking it's a high stick. The TV is set on our bench, it's not behind the bench and all the players and they're losing their minds cause clearly it's a high stick," explained Paul Maurice.

"I'm making that call all day long because I wouldn't have got off the bench. I did what I thought was right."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

At the end of the second, Adam Lowry collided with Oliver Kylington and the Flames defenceman had his face hit the glass. Lowry was called for boarding but the Jets did a great job shutting down the Flames to start the third to leave it a one goal contest. Connor Hellebuyck played a huge role in keeping his team in the game on two important penalty kills.

"This is a team effort tonight. We played our game well," said Hellebuyck who finished with 29 saves.

"We got better as the game went along and we grinded together. We never had a doubt."

Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck

With time winding down in the game and the Flames Mark Giordano in the penalty box, Maurice made a switch for his first power play unit. Morrissey replaced Neal Pionk and the decision worked. Patrik Laine found Morrissey at the point and his blast went past a screened David Rittich to tie it at one. The Jets finished the night 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

"I thought we battled hard on that power play to get pucks back there with a couple good plays down low. We had talked right before that power play to try and get some shots to the net," said Morrissey.

"Get traffic there, I mean when its not going well that's what would be a good recipe. I was just able to make a good shot and you could see the double screen in front."

Winnipeg dominated the third and overtime outshooting Calgary 19-4 over that stretch. The Jets will leave the snow and wind behind as they head to California to begin a three game road trip in Anaheim on Tuesday.

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