GLENS FALLS -- Mathieu Tousignant was so excited about Trevor Gillies’ goal he almost knocked Gillies over.
The Adirondack Flames’ 36-year-old left wing had not scored a goal in three years. Gillies has only even played 18 out of 66 games this season, mostly filling in when the team is short on forwards.
But the team’s self-declared “old grey mare” was called upon Saturday night for some energy and a hard-working attitude. He responded with the first goal of the Flames’ 7-3 win over Oklahoma City.
Tousignant had some “choice words” that Gillies didn’t think were safe for a family newspaper, but the general idea was “Good job, Tre.”
“He jumped in the air and I almost fell over because he was in the air, no skates on the ground,” Gillies said. “I went down the line and it was pretty cool to see the guys’ faces. Usually you block all that stuff out but the fans were pretty loud.”
Kenny Agostino cannot remember seeing a bench get more excited for a goal as the Flames did for Gillies’ goal. He calls the oldest Flame a great role model, teaching the younger players like him how to be a good professional. Even Gillies’ inclusion in the lineup had a meaning.
“Trev’s a guy who cares a lot about his teammates and about this team,” coach Ryan Huska said. “When you’re not playing the way you want to play, you want to have people in the lineup that you know are there for the right reasons.”
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The coach called Gillies an impressive man, praising his attitude through a tough season spent mostly in the stands. The role of enforcer is largely being phased out of the game, but Gillies has not lost his positive attitude. He knows his role is more mentor than player.
“I’m not the most skilled guy in the world, but I’m relied on everyday to bring energy to practice and to the locker room and show the young kids the way,” Gillies said. “My job now, in the twilight of my career, is more what I do off the ice than on the ice.”
The rest of the Flames fed off Gillies. They followed a 4-0 shutout loss at home on Friday with the burst of scoring on Saturday. Whatever someone said in that dressing room had its affect.
The Flames played strong throughout and created a lot of offensive momentum on the penalty kill, including two shorthanded goals. They did give up two power-play goals, but Agostino pointed out they could absorb those with the cushion they built.
But Saturday was Gillies’ night. It feels pretty good standing up for teammates in that enforcer role, but Gillies doesn’t think there’s anything like the feeling of scoring a goal.
“I get to play a little boy’s game and make money doing it,” Gillies said. “I tell the wife every year since I was 30 that I’ll play two more years and I’m 36. Who knows if this is it, but my plan is to keep going.”
|Adirondack||5:18||Gillies 1 (Cundari)|
|Adirondack||8:18||Hanowski 16 (Agostino, Morrison), PP|
|Adirondack||15:34||Hathaway 16 (Reinhart, Wotherspoon), SH|
|Adirondack||19:24||Agostino 10, SH PS|
|Adirondack||1:23||Reinhart 12 (Wolf, Acolatse)|
|Oklahoma City||14:06||Winchester 5|
|Oklahoma City||4:41||Ford 17 (C. Hamilton, Stretch), PP|
|Oklahoma City||13:34||Stretch 9 (Pageau, Ford), PP|
|Adirondack||16:33||Wolf 17 (Arnold, Morrison), EN|