October 19, 2013
Connor McDavid, at 16, is already such a wizard with the puck that he could probably make it rain indoors — you can just picture the OHL office firing off a memo instructing referees what to do when that event occurs.
How do you like apples? McDavid, in all his on-ice omniscience, had the primary assist on every Erie Otters goal in their 4-3 win on Friday over the Belleville Bulls. All four helpers were beauts. The big night bumped teammate Connor Brown, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, into the OHL scoring lead, with McDavid moving up into fifth spot with a share of the OHL assist lead at 15.
Another stat: McDavid has 14 points this month and the first-place Otters (!) have allowed only 14 goals in that span.
— 4:34, first period: McDavid protected the puck to squelch a diving pokecheck from the Bulls' Adam Bignell, then left nine cents' change as Justin Lemcke did the slide-by. That followed with a soft pass that let Brown rip home a shot.
— 11:32, second period: McDavid, with speed, took a pass at centre ice and reduced a Bulls forward to a gate on a slalom course. He carried in deep and curled a pass to Connor Brown, who used the backside defenceman as a screen before firing a laser into the top corner.
— 14:27, second period: If you pause the above clip at :32, only two Otters, Brown and McDavid, are in the frame against four of the Bellevilles — Vancouver Canucks selections Brendan Gaunce and Jordan Subban, defenceman Jake Worrad and Dallas Stars second-rounder Remi Elie. With Brown and Worrad jammed up against the wall, McDavid was equidistant between supporting his linemate in the 1-on-1 battle and having space if the puck came free.
So when the puck went behind the goal line and McDavid pursued, both Gaunce and Subban were sucked into the vortex. McDavid scythed the puck out front to onrushing Dane Fox, who buried his first goal of the night.
— 16:49, still in the second: Fox did more of the work here and a big factor in the goal is that the Otters' overage was able to outmuscle, Lemcke, a promising 16-year-old. Nevertheless, they worked a quick give-and-go in a very narrow space.
Just to avoid over-gilding the lily, McDavid's big night owes a lot to the scorer's touch both the 19-year-old Brown and overage Fox have at the OHL level. It's also worth noting all four goals were on Bulls goalie Charlie Graham's glove side. Still, one can see how McDavid keeps putting pucks in optimal places for his teammates. The chemistry Brown and McDavid have almost demands that someone try to see whether they can replicate it at the international level, don't you think? Brown was not invited to Hockey Canada's summer development camp.
Update: McDavid also sniped a short-handed goal in Erie's win over Ottawa on Saturday.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.