Stars rookie notches first goal in SO loss 

October, 12, 2009

I caught a nice feel-good story late Sunday night. Well, it was late for me back on the Jersey shore. To cut to the chase, Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn scored his first NHL goal in the club's 4-3 shootout loss on the road against the Vancouver Canucks. A kid's getting his first NHL goal always makes for a nice tale, but there were two other important elements to Benn's tally.

First, the goal came with just 1:33 left in regulation time, tying the game 3-3. That's nice timing. And second -- this is where it gets good -- Benn scored his first goal in front of friends and family (about 100, according to Stars broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh) who came from his nearby hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, to see the local hero.

On the scoring play, the 20-year-old Benn displayed the soft hands around the net that made him a junior sensation with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. From in tight to the net and near the right wing post, the lefty-shooting Benn was able to convert a sharp cross-crease pass from playmaking C Mike Ribeiro to knot the game.

To read both E.J. Hradek's and Stars head coach Mark Crawford's take on Benn's potential, as well as take a look at the Stars' early-season shootout woes, you must be an Insider. Insider

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.