Winnipeg Jets first round draft pick Cole Perfetti scored his first professional goal on Monday night. At the time, it gave the Manitoba Moose a 2-1 lead.
Too bad it was only the first period.
Toronto’s Tyler Gaudet scored the tying goal in the second period and the winning goal in the third as the visiting Marlies beat the Manitoba Moose 3-2 in the season opener for both teams at Bell MTS Place in downtown Winnipeg.
Gaudet had a tremendous game, leading both teams with two goals and an assist. He was named the game’s first star. Declan Chisholm, who scored Manitoba’s first goal was the game’s second star. Moose goaltender Mikhail Berdin, who made 32 saves, was the third star.
The Marlies opened the scoring at 5:05 of the first period on a goal by Joey Anderson, but Chisholm scored from Jonathan Kovacevic and Joona Luoto at 6:24 and then 19-year-old Perfetti, the Jets first choice in the 2020 NHL Draft (10th overall), made it 2-1 on a tally at 15:19. Bobby Lynch drew the only assist.
“We have made a commitment to making Cole a centre,” said Moose head coach Pascal Vincent, during the telecast of the Winnipeg Jets game on TSN on Monday night. “That’s what we’ve been working on with him and that’s what he got the opportunity to do tonight.”
Although the Moose carried a 2-1 lead into the second period, it didn’t last long. Gaudet scored his first of the night to tie the game at 2:51 of the second and then Gaudet tallied the eventual winner at 11:44 of the third. Toronto outshot Winnipeg 35-27 as Marlies goaltender Andrew D’Agostini got the win.
“It was a great experience,” Cole Perfetti said post-game. “Playing your first is something special, so much to learn from tonight. It was a lot of fun going out there and competing against those guys and playing with the guys we were with. I had a great experience. To score in the first game and get the first one our of the way, definitely feels good and takes the pressure off a little bit. The pace of the game was a step up and it’s so good for my development and it was an unbelievable experience and I can’t wait to get going tomorrow night.”
The Jets and Marlies play the second game of this four-game week-long series at Bell MTS Place on Tuesday night. Game time is 7 p.m.