Cooper Walker brings a lot to the table for the Guelph Storm, but scoring goals isn’t usually one of them.
But the veteran center, who entered the game with 10 goals this season, scored a hat trick on Friday night as the Storm rallied for a 6-5 win over the Owen Sound Attack at the Sleeman Centre.
So when was the last time Walker scored a hat trick?
“I don’t know. Minor Midget? Maybe the year before? It’s been a long time though, I can tell you that,” Walker said. “I didn’t remember what it felt like, but it feels good.”
Danny Zhilkin won it for the home side 37 seconds into overtime, spinning and firing a wrist shot from the face-off circle that beat Attack goalie Corbin Votary glove-side.
It was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Storm, who had lost four straight before Friday’s game.
“It was exactly what we needed. It shows the character in the room and it shows the determination that we have,” Walker said.
“The last two games haven’t gone our way, but the way we fought back in the second and stopped them really shows our work ethic and commitment to defence.”
A rocky start from goalkeeper Owen Bennett and lackluster defensive play from the forwards saw the Storm go down 5-2 after 20 minutes.
But it was a different Storm team that came out in the second.
Jacob Oster replaced Bennett between the posts and the Storm scored a pair of unanswered goals to make it 5-4.
They dominated the third, eventually tying Walker’s third of the game on a delayed Owen Sound penalty at 8:30.
Jake Karabela and Sasha Pastujov scored Guelph’s other goals. Matt Papais, backing up a shorthanded blueline crew for the Storm, had three assists in the game. Luka Profaca had a pair.
“We just knew we had to keep having pucks in the net. It never hurts to shoot no matter where you are, and that was the mentality in the second half, just to keep shooting. One of them is let’s go in, we’re going to have a lucky rebound somewhere,” Walker said.
An early second goal that made it 5-3 was essential to give the team some momentum, he said.
The Storm get a reprieve on Saturday when Michael Buchinger returns to the lineup after serving his five-game suspension.
Gueph plays Flint on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Saginaw on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. After a game at Windsor on Thursday, the next home game is Friday, also against Windsor.