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Justin Williams Scores Goal Off His Face, Then the Game-Winner to Lift Hurricanes

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 2019-02-22 Kristen Nelson
a man wearing a red uniform holding a gun: Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers © Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images Carolina Hurricanes v Florida Panthers

Not every goal in hockey has to be pretty, but they are rarely bloody. 

Carolina captain Justin Williams took his leadership position to the extreme on Thursday when he offered up his face to score the opening goal of the Hurricanes' game against the Florida Panthers

Just a few minutes into the game, Brett Pesce fired a shot from the high slot that deflected off the right side of Williams's face and past Panthers goalie James Reimer. While all his teammates raised their arms in celebration, Williams immediately fell to the ice but managed to skate off on his own. He headed straight to the locker room as blood dripped from his face.

Luckily Williams returned shortly after with a few stitches in his cheek and a nose stuffed with gauze. Later in the third period, when the game was tied 3–3, the winger scored again—this time with his stick, thankfully—and his second goal would serve as the game-winner for Carolina. 

After the game, Williams was able to joke about the freak score, telling reporters, "Thank God it was Pesce. If it was anyone else I probably would have broken my jaw."

Many of the players' fathers were in attendance in Florida and Williams's dad seemed to be a fan of his son's unconventional scoring style. 

Worth it to make dad proud. 

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