Hockey is a game based around split-second timing, speed and incredible skill. It’s not an easy sport to learn and it’s even harder to master. Players often dream of scoring a highlight-reel goal for their first professional goal. Sometimes it’s highlight reel worthy like Nikita Scherbak’s first goal in the NHL, while other times it goes more like Noah Juulsen’s first professional goal in the AHL this year. Juulsen didn’t score on a jaw-dropping rush from his own end and he didn’t uncork a monster slapshot. Instead, he scored on a botched dump in.
Right at the start of the period, Juulsen collected the puck and carried it through the neutral zone, looking to enter the Checkers’ offensive zone with control. When his lane is closed down, he abandoned the rush and flicked the puck in on a dump for one of his teammates to chase. Instead, the puck took an extremely weird bounce followed by a misplay by Alex Nedeljkovic which lead to the goal.
Not every first goal is going to be glamorous, and in spite of the hilarious nature of this one, it’s sure to be one hell of a story to tell later on in his career.
Juulsen’s run as a participant in comical shenanigans didn’t end with his first pro goal. There’s a lot more to hockey, especially at the minor league level, and the Laval Rocket nailed it with one of their off-ice videos. Normally in these short videos we see players answering trivia or questions about their teammates, but the Rocket took it to a whole new level when they decided to play real-life Mario Kart at Place Bell.
Brett Lernout suited up as everyone’s favourite plumber Mario, Noah Juulsen as Luigi, Tom Parisi as Wario, and Matt Taormina as the king of the jungle, Donkey Kong. What ensued was genuinely one of the most competitive and entertaining off-ice videos a team has ever put together.
Even with Taormina hurling a banana peel and Parisi throwing an orange in attempts to stop the rookie from surging into first place, Juulsen knocked off his veteran teammates in a photo finish.
So the Laval Rocket played real life Mario Kart, and in a photo finish, Noah Juulsen takes home the crown as Luigi. pic.twitter.com/WmbFdU8GCA— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 28, 2018
It wasn’t a pretty season in Laval, but taking home a Mario Kart title is a bragging point for anyone. Hockey doesn’t always have to be a super-serious affair and these two moments from Noah Juulsen’s rookie season remind us of that.
It’s now time to vote for Noah Juulsen’s Highlight of the year. Your choices are:
Noah Juulsen knocks Ryan Sproul into next week with a monster hit. pic.twitter.com/RCpbrxI7PP— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 13, 2018
Or the race win in this article.
Make your choice, and let us know your reasoning in the comments.
What was Noah Juulsen’s top highlight from 2017-18?
This poll is closed
His first NHL goal
His hit on Ryan Sproul
Taking the chequered flag