Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Last week, RMNB’s Chris Gordon wrote an article about Washington Capitals prospect Connor Carrick, explaining why the 19-year-old defenseman deserves your attention. Read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it.
While 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson received all the glory last year after appearing in Hershey’s and Washington’s playoff series, Carrick — Wilson’s teammate on the Plymouth Whalers — led all OHL defenseman in playoff scoring and earned himself a post-season invite to the Bears as well. Caps assistant coach Calle Johansson believes that Carrick, with the right coaching, has the potential to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL, which would be a huge return on investment on a fifth-round pick.
A lot of good material from my interview with Carrick ended up on the cutting room floor. He’s a thoughtful, charming dude, motivated to make the most of his opportunity in hockey. My favorite part of the conversation was a story he shared about playing playoff hockey against the London Knights with Tom Wilson.
It was in London. It was I think game two. It was [Tom’s] hat-trick goal, and it was the game-tying goal to get us to overtime.
The puck was wrapped around and was going towards the middle of the ice. I look back to my left, so I sprint to the blue. I need to stay with this. I’m tip-toeing down the line. The puck’s really dead center on the blue line by the time I stop it. I keep it in. I drag the puck to the middle a bit to take a shot, fake a shot, and Willie pops out. And I hit him with a pass. He goes to one-time it and he whiffs. Completely whiffs. There’s only a couple of seconds left. You know, it’s the very last minute. I’m pretty sure we had our goalie pulled or something. And so he whiffs and then the puck comes back to him and he kinda leans back on his back leg and leisurely shoots it back at the net. I assumed it’d go wide, but it actually goes in to tie the game.
Next thing I know, he’s sprinting towards me. He jumps on me and he’s just screaming,”I. Love. You.”
“I love you.”
That moment was really — you know — it was magical playoff hockey, really. We were battling and trailing most of that game and Willie has a hat trick.
I just remember him jumping on me, screaming like he did. And you can hear it so clearly because the London crowd was so quiet. It was crystal clear. And I love telling the story again, it was so much fun to experience.
Wilson had more magical moments after the game, scoring his first AHL goal with Hershey a few weeks later which was equally as clutch. “You know, it was an elimination game. It was such an important and big game and he really showed up,” Carrick said. “It was a really cool moment for both of us. It was really cool for me and I know for a fact that it was really cool for him.”
Here’s Plymouth’s call of Wilson’s hat trick goal.