Three weeks ago Nathan Perry was trying everything in his power to backstop the Amherstview Jets to a Game Seven victory over the eventual Empire Junior “C” Champion Picton Pirates. 24 days later he was facing OHL sniper and 54 goal scorer Christian Thomas on a penalty shot, in an attempt to try and keep the Kingston Frontenacs season alive. Perry and the Jets were defeated 4-2 with an empty net goal by the Pirates in that seventh game, but the Jets loss is the Fronts gain, as after injuries to both star goaltender Philipp Grubauer and rookie Franky Palazzese, Perry is getting the opportunity of a lifetime and is trying his best to make the most of it.
“The Fronts gave me this opportunity and it’s amazing. It feels great and I don’t want it to stop,” said an excited Perry, following his first ever OHL win, which kept the Fronts season alive and forced a fifth game back in Oshawa on Friday night. “I was waiting for my chance and I know I’ve got to take advantage of this, because chances like this don’t come around every day. We’re not out of this yet,” said Perry.
The team in Front of Perry has played extremely solid in front of the 17 year old local product, as the black and gold have done a good job of limiting the amount of top end scoring chances directed towards their net. "They played great in front of me. (There were) a lot of shots from the outside (that) they let me see the puck. When I had rebounds, they were clearing them, which helped a lot, too," Perry said.
The veteran players could see the young puck stopper battling as hard as he could for them and in turn, they put their best efforts forward to help the Holy Cross Secondary student through it. “"They were trying to help me through this all. They made it great for me, helped me to calm me down because at times I was nervous. They are an amazing bunch of guys," Perry said.
“The most important thing is that he’s not getting down on himself when he lets in a bad goal,” said Head Coach Doug Gilmour. “He continues to fight and battle and just tries to make the next save. The first goal from Jenner was from a tough angle, but he bounces right back with breakaway saves on Laughton and Thomas. Our guys see how much he is fighting and in turn, it makes them fight that much harder too,” said Gilmour.
A couple of question marks from the Oshawa side of things following Game Four are the status of goaltender Peter DiSalvo. DiSalvo looked to injury his shoulder or arm, while reaching back to try and stop Nathan Moon’s second goal of the game. DiSalvo left the game and proceed to go to the dressing room for the remainder of the game.
Also to note is defenseman Scott Valentine, a tough defensive defenseman, who patrols the Generals blueline as one of their top four defenders missed the game with an undisclosed injury and if the league decides to come down on Generals defenseman Daniel Maggio for his vicious head check on Charles Sarault, then the series could get mighty interesting with Oshawa potentially missing their number one goaltender and two of their top four defenseman moving forward.
Perry and the Frontenacs still have their backs against the wall and still have no room for error, but they still plan on going to Oshawa on Friday night and they only thing they are concentrating on, is trying to win Game Five and bring the series back home on Sunday afternoon. “All we can do right now, is take it one game at a time and one period at a time,” said Gilmour.