KANATA, ON Carter Camper might have never guessed that his first career NHL goal would be a garbage man special, cleaning up a loose puck right in front of the net. But the 23-year-old didnt seem to care.
Camper's goal came in his third game with the Bruins and ended up being pretty important in Bostons 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. It was the stuff of boyhood dreams for a youngster that hasnt quite awoken from his NHL dream just yet.
I definitely have dreamed about that from the time I was a little kid skating in the backyard or all by myself just dreaming of maybe someday scoring my first NHL goal, said Camper. Josh Hennessy made a great play on the fore-check getting the puck loose. I saw McQuaid shoot it from the point and saw the puck loose, and I was able to just shoot it in.
I saw the puck go in and I saw everybody celebrating. It didnt really hit me until I got back to the bench, but it was pretty cool. Whether it's one shift, five shifts or ten shifts I just want to go out there and make a difference.
Camper only skated 10 shifts and 5:57 of ice time, but he maximized his chances by waiting for Ottawa backup goaltender Alex Auld to fumble around Adam McQuaids point shot.
Once the puck had managed to elude Aulds glove hand it was up to Camper to attack the net. Instant offense is exactly what the Bruins had in mind when they called the undrafted free agent out if Miami (OH), but tight, must-win hockey games arent all that conducive to learning.
Even so, Camper is getting a piece or two per game to add to his pro experience and NHL body of work, and all of that amounted to some production on Saturday night. Claude Julien has enjoyed seeing Campers progress over a handful of games, and the novelty never wears off seeing an excited youngster tasting success at the NHL level for the first time.
Those kinds of rookie moments can bring energy and enthusiasm to a veteran hockey club full of players with their eyes on the Stanley Cup prize.
I was really happy for him. Every time we put him on I had to be careful because the Ottawa coaches were putting their top line out there, said Julien. I didnt have an opportunity to play them too, too much. So that line didnt see as much ice as I would have liked to, but they scored a big goal.
It was nice to see all three working hard, and I thought Carter did a great job of standing his ground around the net, finding that puck and finding a way to score.
It wasnt the one-time sniper shot that Carter might have dreamed it would be, but it goes down as an official NHL goal in the books for a player that hopes to stick around for a while.