MAIN PHOTO: Riley Kidney proudly shows off his first pro hockey goal puck with the Laval Rocket of the AHL. (Laval Rocket photo)
LAVAL, Que.: He was in the right spot at the right time.
That’s how Enfield’s Riley Kidney summed up scoring his first pro hockey goal with the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, in a 3-2 loss to the Leigh Valley Phantoms on Friday night Nov. 17.
Kidney is a prospect of the Canadiens playing his rookie season of pro hockey with the Rocket. He was drafted by the Habs in round two of the 2021 draft, 63rd overall.
While the goal came with five ticks left on the clock, the Rocket were pressuring and Kidney feels they would have tied the game if they had more time on the clock.
It was just Kidney’s 11th game of the season, one which saw him have an assist already as he plays on the third line for the most part.
“The AHL is a very strong league and it takes time to adjust to it,” said Kidney in an interview Nov. 20 with The Laker News. “So scoring my first goal felt awesome.”
The Rangers alum said he had plenty of opportunities to bury the puck in those first dozen games.
“In my first few games I hit the post and the crossbar and missed a couple great chances so it felt great to finally get one in the back of the net,” he said.
Kidney described how the play went down that led to his goal, which came on the power-play.
“Our Defence was in control of the puck and I was on the right side of the net,” said Kidney. “William Trudeau shot the puck hitting their defencemen in the leg and the puck bounced out to me.
“I one-timed it in the net. It happened very fast.”
He said the goal came after lots of pressure from the Rocket.
“We had a lot of momentum in the third period but ran out of time to tie the game,” he said.
Kidney said players are bigger and stronger than in junior.
“You have to score goals when the opportunities present themselves as it’s not easy,” said Kidney.
“Most goals are scored by attacking the net and often in the blue ice.
“I was in the right spot to get the rebound.”