Stephen McInnis didn't get a shift in the first two periods of Friday night's UPEI Panthers men's hockey game.
But there he was on the ice in the final minute of regulation killing a penalty in a tied game.
"It really means a lot for (coach Forbes MacPherson) to have that kind of faith in me," McInnis said after the Panthers 4-3 overtime victory over Acadia. "I've been working hard all year to try and prove my role and I've seemed to gain Forbes respect on the PK."
McInnis, a 21-year-old Panthers rookie from Cable Head East, was ready to go, and it might have been due to the coaching staff thinking ahead.
With the Panthers leading 3-2, assistant coach Brad MacKenzie went to McInnis during the second intermission. He told the rookie he might be needed in the final frame and to be ready. With no one on rink B at MacLauchlan Arena, McInnis got the legs pumping during the intermission.
"(MacKenzie) sent me over to rink B and I was buzzing around out there for a little bit," McInnis explained.
When Cole MacMillan was called for slashing with 1:38 to play McInnis soon got his chance killing Acadia's first power play.
"I just tried to stay calm and just stick to what I know," he said. "I was able to get the job done tonight, so I am grateful for that."
MacPherson said McInnis earned his ice time.
"I think our PK has been top-5 in Canada all year, and he's a big reason why," he said. "He went out there and he did the job."
McInnis had an assist in 22 games this season.