It may not have been perfect, but Doug Gilmour's first game behind the Kingston Frontenacs' bench was certainly dramatic - and successful.
After kicking himself for not calling a timeout in the final seconds of regulation before the Belleville Bulls scored a buzzer-beating goal to send the game to overtime, the former Toronto Maple Leafs star watched the Ontario Hockey League's last-place Frontenacs win 5-4 on a goal by Ethan Werek with 16.7 seconds left in the extra period.
"It was a nice way to win," Gilmour said after the thrilling win before a noisy season-high crowd of 4,571 at the K-Rock Centre. "I wish we could have won in regulation, but, hey, right now this team will take it."
Losers of nine of their past 10 games under previous coach Larry Mavety, the Frontenacs (6-13-4-1) played with zeal for Gilmour and rewarded him with a win over the Eastern Conference leaders when Werek crashed the net and deposited a rebound behind Bulls star goalie Mike Murphy.
"It was huge," Werek said. "Coming in here in Doug's first game, you want to get him a win. Coming on the ice, I've never been so pumped up in my life. To see a full house is just awesome. Hopefully that puck goes beside his 1,000th-point (puck). It's pretty cool to score that goal."
The Bulls (16-6-2-2) looked like they were going to spoil Gilmour's big night when Eric Tangradi scored on a rebound with less than a second left to tie it after the puck dropped in Kingston's zone with just 4.5 seconds left.
Nevertheless, the Frontenacs came out on top after Werek followed up Josh Brittain's original chance for the winner.
"What I said to these guys is lots of shots and they did that," Gilmour said. "They should have been rewarded a lot more. I was pleased. It's a hard-working team, they took the puck down low and I'm very excited about it."
Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Brampton 5, Ottawa 4; London 5, Peterborough 2; Mississauga 4, Oshawa 3 (SO); Barrie 1, Guelph 0; Kitchener 6, Erie 2; Saginaw 3, Sudbury 2 (SO); Sarnia 3, Sault Ste. Marie 2; and Plymouth at Owen Sound (ppd.).
At Kingston, Ont., the Frontenacs rallied from a 3-2 deficit on goals by Kelly Geoffrey and Eric Mignardi in a span of 58 seconds midway through the third period. Brittain scored Kingston's other two goals against a Bulls team that had shut out the Frontenacs in their past two meetings.
Tangradi had two goals for Belleville, while Bryan Cameron and Cory Tanaka also scored for the Bulls.
Mavric Parks made 37 saves for Kingston. Belleville netminder Mike Murphy stopped 38 shots.
Battalion 5, 67's 4
At Ottawa, four different Brampton players found the net in the third period as the Battalion rallied to defeat the 67's.
Derek Gregorack, Jason Dale and Cody Hodgson scored 3:10 apart for Brampton (17-6-0-0) to erase a 4-1 deficit in the third period. Josh Shalla scored the winner at 14:50 of the third. Kyle Pereira had the other Battalion goal.
Thomas Kiriakou had a pair, while Tyler Toffoli and Ryan Martindale also scored for the Ottawa (12-11-0-2).
Knights 5, Petes 2
At London, Ont., Trevor Cann stopped 22 shots against his former team as the Knights beat Peterborough for their seventh straight win.
Vladimir Roth had two goals, while John Carlson, Daniel Erlich and Justin Taylor also scored for London (18-5-0-1). Phil Varone contributed four assists.
Tony Romano and Jeff Braithwaite replied for the Petes (11-14-0-1).
Majors 4, Generals 3 (SO)
At Mississauga, Ont., Jordan Mayer scored the deciding goal in the shootout as the Majors outlasted Oshawa.
Casey Cizikas also scored in the shootout for Mississauga (9-11-0-1). Majors rookie Riley Brace scored the first goal of his OHL career midway through the third period to tie the game at 3-3. Jared Gomes and Cameron Gaunce had the other goals for Mississauga.
The Generals (11-11-0-2) sent Kory Nagy and John Tavares out for the shootout but both failed to score against Mississauga rookie goalie JP Anderson. Nagy, Tyler Taylor and Jeff Hayes scored for Oshawa in regulation.
Colts 1, Storm 0
At Guelph, Ont., Daniel Michalsky scored the lone goal as Barrie blanked the Storm.
Michael Hutchinson made 36 saves to earn the shutout for the Colts (10-12-1-1).
Thomas McCollum stopped 29 shots for Guelph (13-9-1-2).
Rangers 6, Otters 2
At Kitchener, Ont., Chris MacKinnon had two goals and two assists to lead the Rangers over Erie.
Scott Timmins had two goals and an assist and Steve Lock also scored twice for Kitchener (10-10-1-1).
Zack Torquato and Sean Jones found the net for the Otters (11-11-1-0).
Spirit 3, Wolves 2 (SO)
At Sudbury, Ont., Jordan Skillett and T.J. Brodie scored in the shootout to lift Saginaw over the Wolves.
Mitch Fillman and Joe Pleckaitis scored in regulation for the Spirit (14-7-0-1).
Patrik Lusnak scored both goals for Sudbury (10-9-1-1).
Sting 3, Greyhounds 2
At Sarnia, Ont., Steve Ferry scored with 31 seconds remaining as the Sting edged Sault Ste. Marie.
Sarnia (11-10-1-1) trailed 2-1 heading into the third period. Justin DiBenedetto assisted on both Ferry's marker and the tying goal by Jamie Arniel, scored on the power play with just over a minute remaining. Mark Katic had the other goal for the Sting.
Michael Fine scored one and assisted on Dylan King's goal for the Greyhounds (11-10-1-0).
Whalers at Attack (ppd.)
At Owen Sound, Ont., poor weather forced the postponement of Friday's game between the Attack and Plymouth.
Heavy snow prevented the Whalers from travelling to Owen Sound for the game.
The OHL says it will announce a makeup date for the game shortly.