Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Feels Like The First Time

Scoring a first career goal at the Junior A level is an important moment in the development of a young hockey player. It’s the first step on a journey that will hopefully lead him to the professional ranks. For Drew Best, September 14, 2012 is a date that he won’t be forgetting. That’s because Best, who is in his first season with the Surrey Eagles, scored his first BCHL goal against the Chilliwack Chiefs on that evening in just his third game in the league. It was also the double overtime winner.

“They just made a bad play, a turnover,” said Best of the goal. “I was able to make a read on it and picked up the puck, and we went down on a two-on-one. Their defenseman took Demico (Hannoun) out, so it left me to shoot.

“I know it was an important goal, but it’s not so much that it was in overtime. It’s that it was my first BCHL goal, so it was going to be important either way.”

The 18-year-old is one of eight players on the Eagles who have scored their first BCHL goal so far this season along with Craig Wyszomirski, Nic Pierog, Eric Chevrier, Tommy Stipancik, Jordan Klimek, Joel Gaudet and Stefan Burzan.

Pierog’s first marker was also a game winner as he scored late in the third period of a 3-2 victory over the Merritt Centennials. While scoring his first goal was a momentous occasion for Pierog, he also felt a sense of relief.

“After you get the monkey off your back, you’re not going to worry about trying to score and get your first one in the league,” said Pierog. “Now that I’ve scored it, I can just concentrate on playing hockey and hopefully more goals will come.”

Some players have to wait longer than others to find the net for the first time as was the case with Chevrier. The 19-year-old blue liner joined the Birds midway through the season last year and was unable to find the net before season’s end. But Chevrier finally scored against the Trail Smoke Eaters in his thirteenth game of the 2012-2013 campaign.

“I got into 26 games last year with the team, and I didn’t get a goal then,” said Chevrier. “Just being a defenseman, you don’t really score a lot. The way I play my game, I’m more of a defensive guy, so anytime I get a goal it’s kind of a big deal for me.”

While the current members of the Eagles still have the memories of their first goal fresh in their minds, Head Coach Matt Erhart’s came back in the 1997-1998 season when he was an 18-year-old defenseman in Surrey.

“It was a seeing eye shot from the point,” said Erhart with a smile. “I was just hoping to get a shot on goal, so I threw it towards the net, and it squeaked through. Being a rookie defenseman I was just hoping to get one goal and I ended up with three that year.

“It’s always nice to get that first one. I know there are a couple of guys still to score here this year, but hopefully we’ll get those guys on the board soon.”

1 comment:

  1. “It’s always nice to get that first one." It was not just a goal, but it was the winning goal! You're right. The first goal is essentially your stepping stone if you want to make it in the big leagues. I'm actually impressed to learn how Best was humble when he talked about it. He also has the right mindset of focusing in getting better. If he keeps that attitude up, then I'm sure that his future career would be bright.

    -Loree Cahoon