NEW YORK – Brock McGinn of the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t have much time to savour a spectacular highlight of his hockey career.
On April 24 the Fergus native scored the series-winning goal against the Washington Capitals in double overtime of game seven of the first round of the NHL playoffs.
But just two days after knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions, his team had to be ready to face the well-rested New York Islanders in round two.
“It’s a pretty good feeling. We battled so hard that series, so to see that last one go in was pretty special,” said McGinn in an April 26 interview with the Advertiser.
“It was a really exciting moment for us, but we’re starting a new one tonight, so we just have to keep going.”
Carolina was down 3-1 in the series, but came back to force a game 7 in Washington.
The Hurricanes were down 3-2 in the third period of the final game, but Jordan Staal tied it up, and McGinn dove to prevent a Capitals goal in the final minutes of regulation.
“Obviously, there are a lot of nerves going into double overtime in game seven, but our leadership group is so good – they kept us so relaxed in the dressing room between periods, and kind of loose,” said McGinn.
At 11:05 of the second overtime period, McGinn moved in on the Washington net just as team captain Justin Williams raced to retrieve a puck in the corner.
Williams made a hard centering pass. McGinn tapped it out of the air and past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.
“We talked so much about getting pucks to the net, because anything can happen in those types of games. I had a feeling that he was going to spin and fire it towards the net,” said McGinn.
“I was a little laid back in the slot, then saw ‘Willy’ getting ready to turn. I took a couple of hard strides and I think kind of caught them off guard there. I positioned myself in front and was able to hit it in.”
McGinn added, “Right when you see it go in, I think you lose complete control. Everybody’s just jumping up. It’s a big step for this team and the fans and the organization.”
The key goal marked the winger’s fifth point of the playoffs (two goals, three assists), after registering 26 points in 82 regular season games.
As of press time this week, Carolina was ahead 2-0 in the round two series against the Islanders, after winning the first two games in New York. They were back on home ice for game three Wednesday night.
McGinn said he appreciates all the support he’s had from Centre Wellington and Guelph, where he played for the OHL’s Storm.
“I couldn’t have got here by myself. I’ve had so much support and love from the two cities growing up that it has really helped me get to where I am now,” he said.
“If you’re going to reach anywhere, you need that support behind you. It’s never doing it by yourself. You always think of the people who have helped you get to where you are, and you’re doing it not only for yourself, but for them and your teammates. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
He also enjoys being on a team that never gives up.
“On this team, everybody in that room cares about each other… That’s something special.
“Everybody respects each other, and wants to be out on the ice for each other… and not let each other down, so that’s really big for a team and it’s something we have right now.”