October 05, 2012
Imagine the post-game conversation last night between the Texas Tornado's Brandon Hawkins and his family on Thursday night.
Parent: How did it go?
Hawkins: Great! I got a natural hat trick and we won 4-2.
Parent: What else happened?
Hawkins (vacantly): That's pretty much it.
Parent (knowingly): Bran-don ...
Hawkins: Oh, I also checked a guy into the glass so hard it shattered. Night! Love you, Mom and/or Dad!
Players in U.S. junior leagues have had an adversarial relationship with Plexiglass recently. First Taylor Cox of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League's New Jersey Junior Titans got on ESPN after shattering the glass when he jumped against Ovechkin-style to celebrate a goal. He went through of his own accord. On Thursday, the Corpus Christi IceRays' Perry D'Arrisso did an involuntary Lambeau Leap on skates after being checked by the Tornado's Hawkins.
Once repairs were finished and play resumed, Hawkins morphed from glass-shatterer to goal-scorer. The play happened with 2:50 left in the opening period. In the second, the 18-year-old Hawkins scored three goals in a span of 10 1/2 minutes. He was already on an offensive roll after scoring in each of Texas' previous two games. Apparently, he wanted to demonstrate that getting a few goals had not led to him abandoning the physical play and work ethic that beget that success.
Meantime, here is hoping D'Arrisso, a Mississauga, Ont., native who used to play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, was not harmed. He returned to the game, which suggests that not only does it take a tough player to put an opponent through the glass, but it takes a tough player to be the hittee.
(Stick tap: Alex Kyrias, NAHL communications.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.