Watch Anaheim Ducks top pick Nick Ritchie get his visor torn off by teammate's slapshot (VIDEO)

Peterborough Petes' Nick Ritchie during the CHL Top Prospects game in Calgary, Alberta on January 15, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal
Peterborough Petes' Nick Ritchie during the CHL Top Prospects game in Calgary, Alberta on January 15, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

A few inches lower, and it would have been a grisly injury for Nick Ritchie in his first game of the season with the Peterborough Petes.

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks first-round pick was cutting through the high slot against the Belleville Bulls when Petes teammate Matt Spencer stepped into a slapshot. The puck struck Ritchie's cheek and tore the visor right off his helmet, causing a hush to fall over the crowd in Peterborough that was welcoming the team's star player back to the fold.

As 'welcome back to the OHL moments' go, well, they could go a lot smoother.


The notable part was that the 18-year-old Ritchie, whom the Ducks chose No. 10 overall in the NHL draft, ended up missing only one shift after having his headgear damaged. The left wing told the Peterborouigh Examiner's Mike Davies that he suffered "a little bit of a swollen cheek." The Orangeville, Ont., native didn't take long to get back into the flow of the game. Three minutes later, he assisted on a goal by teammate Dominik Masin. Ritchie also sniped a power-play goal in the third, contributing to a combined eight-point night for his line with Hunter Garlent and Eric Cornel. The Petes won 7-4.

Meantime, it would appear that Spencer, considered a potential NHL first-rounder, already has a pro shot. It's just fortunate no one was injured; it's just a reminder of how hockey players take on a lot of risk every time they step on the ice and have to learn to suppress it.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (videos: TV Cogeco Ontario).