Warren Foegele has scored at the OHL level. He’s scored at the AHL level. And Monday night, he got the hat trick, becoming the 21st player in franchise history to score his first goal in his first NHL game as the Hurricanes finished off the home-and-home sweep, topping the Ottawa Senators 4-1 at PNC Arena in their third-to-last home game of the season.
Foegele opened the scoring with a minute to go in the first period on a tremendous individual play. Sheltering the puck along the boards to keep it away from Senators defenseman Ben Harpur, Foegele kept the big 6’6” defenseman at bay, then reversed possession to send Harpur tumbling the wrong way. He then skated in from the corner and went top shelf over Craig Anderson’s glove no more than a couple inches from the top right intersection of the post and crossbar.
It was a highlight-reel goal from a player who’s scored plenty of them in Charlotte this season, and it certainly belied the fact that Foegele was just three minutes of ice time into his NHL career.
After Bobby Ryan tied the game midway through the second period, whipping the puck past Cam Ward on a turnaround from the slot, it was Foegele again who served as the engine to power the game-winner. Driving hard to the net against Anderson, Foegele’s shot was momentarily stopped, but once-and-current teammate Valentin Zykov tapped home the rebound through Anderson’s pads for the game-winning goal.
Despite ceding long stretches of play early in the second period to the Senators, the Canes were the aggressors most of the night, evidenced by an 11-5 advantage in the first period and a 30-19 mark overall. And the energy that Foegele brought to the game was replicated in kind all up and down the lineup, exemplified by Sebastian Aho taking exception to a J.G. Pageau slash and riding him hard into the boards after the whistle.
Ward had to stand tall at times as well. His robbery of Mike Hoffman on the shift before Ryan scored the Sens’ only goal was a thing of beauty, sliding across to deny the finish of a 3-on-1 rush. A couple of times he stacked the pads to thwart the likes of Ryan Dzingel and Bobby Ryan, and he was needed to keep the Sens at bay when they were pushing the issue in the middle stanza. Aho finished off the scoring into the empty net with two minutes left to seal the win, his ninth straight game with a point.
But the game belonged to the callups. Roland McKeown finished +3 on the night, the only player on either team to be on the ice for three Hurricanes goals. Foegele and Zykov were everywhere, bringing the decision-making of most of the year into clear focus. Even Jason Shaya, up from the minors to replace John Forslund who was on NBCSN duty, was involved.
It may be another lost season for the Canes, but the players who will be returning to Charlotte two weeks hence for the start of the Calder Cup playoffs have certainly proven their case and would seem to be odds-on to start next season right back where they were Monday night.
They Said It
It’s exciting. You’re happy for them, they’ve worked hard all their life, and all of a sudden they realize their dream to make the NHL and they score. They gave us good energy tonight. Real good play by Warren on his goal, beat a guy out of the corner off the wall and went to the net hard. Then [Zykov[ gets the game winner. [McKeown] ends up +3. Good for them.
There are guys coming. Ronnie, I think, has done a great job through the draft. You look at Necas, Bean, those types of players are coming. Ned’s leading the AHL in wins. There’s lots coming.
Good job by [Vellucci] getting them ready. No one was rushed. Warren has 26 down there, and all of a sudden he scores here. And a real good release on the game winner too. [Zykov] got that off in a tight space and got it off quick, and the goaltender couldn’t handle it clean.
They’re bigger bodies. Z’s coming along nicely. Foegele is a real elite skater, and as he spends more time in the NHL the game will slow down for him and you’ll see that speed on display.
Now we’re going to go play a back to back, playing a team that’s real quick. They’re going to forecheck and hem us in a little bit too. Are you going to make the play along the wall to get it out, the little plays that nobody talks about? Are they going to be able to make those plays tomorrow? It’s a continual evaluation. It never ends.
I was a little nervous out there. It took until about the third shift to realize it was just another hockey game. My linemates kept talking to me and made me feel comfortable.
I thought I’d just do a tight turn on him and shoot it on net. I heard the crowd make noise, and I looked in the back of the net. Pretty surreal moment and something I’ll remember. The best advice I got was just to shoot it on net, so I just shot it and it went in.
[Having his parents in the stands:] They’ve been through so much supporting me, everything they’ve done through the years and my brother too. It’s just great that they were able to be here for the journey.
It feels like, you live through this moment once again. It was just a year ago that you had the same feeling, same emotions, and you feel the same for [Foegele] just like you did [yourself] a year ago.
Both of us like to go to the net. That’s how we get our goals, mostly. You dream of having a sick shot, top shelf, but to have those kinds of goals you have to play a little more games, get a little more confident and poised.
[Are you learning quickly?] Yes - well, not quickly, but learning, for sure. [You sure look comfortable out there.] It’s an illusion. [laughter]
Those guys are coming up here, and I’ve been in that situation too, but they’re playing awesome. It’s fun to watch. Warren was great tonight. He was a force on the puck and on the forecheck. He made a lot of plays and he was fun to play with. Z has just been great his, whatever, four games he’s played. He’s a big, strong body, knows how to go to the net and get rewarded.
[Foegele] seemed like a pretty confident, calm guy. He got the vest after the game, had a nice little speech there. Most guys are stumbling over their words and nervous, but he was good. I think he’s confident in his ability, and it shows.
- TFW you have a two-point night in your debut
- It never comes out overtly, and it’s obvious that he’s still thinking in Russian while speaking in English, but Valentin Zykov is lowkey hilarious. Not only was there the quote above about his comfort level being an illusion, but there was also this gem:
Zykov on the play where Claesson tried to hit him and bounced off of him:— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) March 27, 2018
At the last moment I noticed him and, well, I was on my feet, so good for me.
- It’s now two years in a row that the Canes have had a player score his first goal in his first game. Zykov did the honors last season.
- Ward improved to 10-1-2 in his last 13 games against the Senators, dating back to December of 2011.
- Peters said that the original plan was to bring Zykov up for a five-game trial, but that decision was made before Victor Rask was shut down for the season and he gave every impression that Zykov will be here for the duration. Not sure about Foegele, but he will certainly be in the lineup tomorrow night and then they’ll see where things stand from there.
- Speaking of tomorrow, logic would dictate that Scott Darling would get the start against the Devils, but Peters wouldn’t commit to it, saying that Ward was relatively fresh after not seeing a ton of work tonight. Reading between the lines it sounds like Ward may get the call tomorrow but stay tuned.
- Aho’s empty-netter extended his career-high point streak to nine games, although Teuvo Teravainen’s ended at seven as he was held without a point tonight.
- The Canes won’t skate tomorrow before their matchup with New Jersey, so any changes that will be made won’t be known until the warmup.
Rank the Performances
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