Ben Hanowski wasted no time continuing his college goal scoring in his NHL debut.
As Chris mentioned earlier, the former St. Cloud State forward, who signed an entry-level contract Friday, scored his first professional goal Monday night for the Calgary Flames in their 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Hanowski won a battle to the puck behind the Wild's net, skated towards the crease and shot a Mikael Backlund pass that beat Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom to make it 4-2 with 8:41 left in the game.
"To score in the NHL is something you do in your backyard in the summer, playing road hockey with your buddies, so to finally do it is pretty special," he said about the goal.
Hanowski, a 3rd round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 acquired by Calgary last month in the Jarome Iginla trade, has had a whirlwind week. The Little Falls, Minnesota native scored 31 points (17 goals and 14 assists) in 37 games this season for St. Cloud State, which was capped off by the Huskies making their first Frozen Four in school history. Following St. Cloud State's 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac Thursday night, he signed a contract with the Flames and suited up against the team he grew up cheering for 4 days later.
"We think it is really important for his development to get a little taste of pro hockey life and our organization, what it's like," Flames assistant GM John Weisbrod told calgaryflames.com. "It's my experience that it makes first year players summers a lot more productive.
Hanowksi did miss a test and the opportunity to cut his hair with his St. Cloud State teammates, who were growing their hair all year for Locks of Love. Scoring your first NHL goal, however, is a good enough excuse to put it off for a day.
Calgary next plays tonight (April 17) against Detroit.