There's a moment almost every kid who has ever dreamt about playing hockey creates in their driveway or on an outdoor rink: the overtime winning goal to clinch a championship. Sunday night, that became a reality for Oshawa Generals' centre Anthony Cirelli.
Cirelli, who came into the OHL as an undrafted free agent and reportedly had two tryout agreements signed before landing with the Generals, had scored 13 goals and 36 points in 68 regular season games. In 21 post-season games, only twice did he find the back of the net, registering 10 points during Oshawa's OHL championship run. Selecting him as the Memorial Cup hero would have been a long shot, but after tying the game for Oshawa in the second frame, it was Cirelli who locked up major junior's biggest prize:
Heading into the Memorial Cup final against the Kelowna Rockets, Cirelli had managed one assist in the tournament, but on the biggest stage of his career, he came up with two massive goals. Cirelli's overtime winner makes him only the ninth player in major junior history to score a Memorial Cup-winning overtime goal and the first since Anton Zlobin scored the 2012 Cup-clinching goal for the Shawinigan Cataractes in an extra frame. Coincidentally, Zlobin also notched both goals for Shawinigan in their 2-1 overtime victory in 2012.
The Generals will host their Memorial Cup parade Tuesday and there's no doubt that Cirelli will be front and center at the festivities.