OWEN SOUND - The Plymouth Whalers deserved a better fate on Wednesday in Owen Sound.
Attack goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 42-of-44 shots as the game's first star to lead the Owen Sound Attack to a 4-2 victory over the Whalers before 2,577 fans and scouts from 18 National Hockey League teams at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound.
Owen Sound is now 6-1-0-1 and has the best record in the Ontario Hockey League. Plymouth is now 2-2-1-1.
Daniel Catenacci (4th), second star Kurtis Gabriel (2nd), Joseph Blandisi (3rd) and Cameron Brace (7th on the empty net) all scored for Owen Sound, who led 1-0 after one period and 3-1 after forty minutes.
But Binnington - a St. Louis draft with Blues scouts watching intently from the stands on Wednesday - was the difference, especially in the first two periods when the Whalers were their most dangerous.
Plymouth outshot Owen Sound, 13-7, in the first period, but Catenacci scored the only goal of the frame on a power play at 5:11, re-directing Chris Bigras' shot from high slot that went intentionally wide of the Plymouth goal and caromed off the ball wall. Catenacci - stationed at the right goal line - beat Whalers starting goaltender Riley Corbin with the shot.
The Whalers continued to presure Owen Sound in the second period, outshooting the Attack, 21-9, but Binnington was the difference. He stoned Plymouth's Stefan Noesen at the left post roughly 6:40 into the second period and the Attack went down and scored on the next rush on a two-on-one when Gabriel converted Holden Cook's feed in front of the Plymouth goal to give Owen Sound a 2-0 lead 6:53 into the second period.
Rakell finally broke through on a Plymouth power play at 8:45, accepting Ryan Hartman's pass from the lower rim of the right circle in Attack territory and ripping a shot from the left circle past Binnington. But 24 seconds later, Blandisi worked by Rakell along the right boards in the Plymouth zone, bulled his way through traffic in front of the Whalers goal and powered the puck past Corbin at 9:09 to give the Attack a 3-1 lead.
The Whalers appeared to cut the Owen Sound to 3-2 at 8:40 of the third period when Alex Aleardi redirected Austin Levi's shot from the point past Binnington. But after a lengthy video review, referees Ryan Carroll and Mike Marley ruled that Aleardi's stick was above the Owen Sound cross-bar and therefore, no goal.
Payne came back to cut the Plymouth deficit to 3-2 at 13:33, snapping a shot from the left hashmark by Binnington. Payne has scored in four straight games and has scored in five of first six Plymouth games this season.
Trailing 3-2 with 1:25 remaining, Vellucci called time out and pulled Mahalak. But Brace picked up a loose puck along the right boards and scored on the empty net at 18:50 to close out the scoring.
Plymouth outshot Owen Sound, 44-30.
The Whalers remain on the road Friday in London (7:20 p.m., www.plymouthwhalers.com) before returning home Saturday to face Sault Ste. Marie at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena.