Someone call Bobby Orr to see if he had an out-of-body experience, because Halifax Mooseheads phenom Jonathan Drouin channeled the living legend on a coast-to-coast goal on Friday.
Solo rushes like this just don't happen in a sport that is typically as overcoached as hockey. Yet the 17-year-old who is pegged as a top 5 pick in the NHL draft outraced, outplayed, outplayed and overpowered five members of the Shawinigan Cataractes on an end-to-end goal. One would have figured that, at some point, a stick check or some smart angling by one of the defenders would have defused the situation.
Instead, Drouin pulled away from forechecker Samuel Aquin in his own zone. Then had the strength to lift the stick of backchecker Alexis D'Aoust to enter the offensive zone with the puck and with gathering speed. Then left defenceman Mathieu Gagnon standing lock-kneed and slack-jawed after being beaten to the inside. Then left the other defender Phil Pietroniro sliding helplessly, following the puck into the Cataractes net after Drouin beat goalie Hugo Campeau with a well-placed shot.
"Maybe I saw open space to go," Drouin told Mooseheads play-by-play broadcaster John Moore. "I faked the first guy out and just skated through the middle of the ice. After the guy backchecked, I tried to deke the first defender, maybe got a little lucky there, the puck went through his stick. I just got in and shoot and went in."
Based on YouTube views, the gold standard for great goals by a 17-year-old junior was established two seasons ago by the Niagara IceDogs' Ryan Strome, whom the New York Islanders drafted No. 5 overall.
That Strome goal might have involved slicker moves, including putting the puck between his own feet to beat Plymouth Whalers defenceman Beau Schmitz before putting the puck off the side of the net to complete his deke on goalie Scott Wedgewood. Strome also did that in the tight confines of the IceDogs' small home ice surface.
Whatever the greater degree of difficulty in each one-on-one confrontation was might be cancelled out by what Drouin did playing one-on-FIVE.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (videos: John Moore, Halifax Mooseheads, TV Cogeco Ontario). Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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