OTTAWA - Vern Cooper scored two goals Sunday, one of them in bizarre fashion, and the Plymouth Whalers went on to thump the Ottawa 67's 7-3 in the Ontario Hockey League.
Brett Bellemore, Ryan Hayes and Michal Jordan each added a goal and an assist and Joe Gaynor and Tyler J. Brown had single markers for the Whalers (19-19-4-0).
In the first period, Hayes banked a shot off 67's defenceman Derek Hartwick and past starting goaltender Adam Courchaine from the corner, but that wasn't the worst bounce Ottawa (24-15-1-2) would see.
With the Whalers leading 6-2 and killing a penalty late in the second period, Cooper picked up the puck to the side of his own net and, from behind his own goal line, tried to relieve the pressure by flipping it the length of the ice. Courchaine left his crease to field the sliding puck, but when he bent down to play it with his catching hand, the puck skipped past him and into the net. In all, the shot travelled about 175 feet.
"The puck was coming down the ice and I was like, 'It's bouncing, I should probably put a knee down,"' Courchaine said. "I was a shortstop in high school and the same thing used to happen all the time. As soon as the puck gets right to you, it goes over your glove. That's always tough.
"I was actually beside the net. It seemed like it bounced right over the glove and went in the net... After a game like that, you've kind of got to laugh it off."
Kaine Geldart and AJ Jenks had a pair of assists apiece for the Whalers, who won for the second time in three games, and netminder Matt Hackett stopped 39 shots.
All three of Ottawa's goals came on the power play. Anthony Nigro had two of them and Julien Demers had the other. Ryan Martindale recorded two assists. It was the 67's first loss in regulation in 11 contests.
Courchaine gave up all seven goals on 29 shots before being replaced by Chris Perugini to start the third. Perugini made six saves the rest of the way.