On Tuesday, Alex Broadhurst did something in one night that no USHL player had ever done in a single playoff — score three short-handed goals.
The ever-dangerous Green Bay Gamblers centre made the Youngstown Phantoms look like they'd seen a ghost, as he scored the first short-handed hat trick in the history of the United States' premier junior league. Suffice to say, the Chicago Blackhawks seem fairly smart for using their final draft choice last summer on a 5-foot-10, 153-pound waterbug from their own backyard in Illinois. Get this: it was the first hat trick he'd ever had in the league.
The 19-year-old Broadhurst, who's committed to the NCAA's Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks but was also selected by the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights two weeks ago in the OHL priority selection draft, scored one shorty in each period during Green Bay's 6-3 win. (The victory gave the Gamblers a 2-1 series lead entering Wednesday's Game 4.)
What is even more a-moz-ing to quote Penny in Happy Endings — not a gratuitous reference since the ABC sitcom is set in Chicago — is that Broadhust's first two goals were unassisted. Twice, he stole the puck in the neutral zone and went in to score. His third, the league history maker, came courtesy of teammate Sam Herr hammering a hard shot on a 2-on-1 rush that Broadhurst deposited into the Phantoms net.
Three short-handed goals in one game, it goes without saying, is quite the feat. No USHL player had ever recorded three shorties in a single post-season. Broadhurst had only two during the entire regular season when he finished third in the USHL in scoring with 73 points in 53 games. The second goal is the biggest puzzler — while one shouldn't profess to be an expert on a league based on a few game highlights, how does Youngston's Sam Anas give Broadhurst a chance to steal the puck by carrying it as the last man back instead of passing it ahead?
Broadhurst's feat came slightly more than two years to the day since current Columbus Blue Jackets farmhand Matt Calvert's short-handed hat trick in a WHL playoff game. Calvert scored a natural hat trick within a six-minute, 45-second span for the Brandon Wheat Kings in a game against the Calgary Hitmen. (What made it even odder was Brandon lost and didn't score any goals in the other 53 minutes and change.) So it doesn't happen too often, meaning that within the USHL, Alex Broadhurst could hold his record for many a playoff spring to come.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.