When Josh Brook deflected the pass away from the American Hockey League’s leading goal scorer Reid Boucher to create a loose puck, he heard a voice to attack the puck and go for it.
That voice was Karl Alzner.
Brook would end up winning the race, and create a two-on-one. With Utica Comets goaltender Zane McIntyre cheating towards a pass to Lukas Vejdemo, Brook saw the five hole open up and made no mistake. It ended up tying the game at 1-1, and was Brook’s third goal of the season.
“It’s awesome,” Brook said about his pairing with the veteran Alzner. “Lots of talking. He’s helping me out a lot and it’s been great.”
Alzner was once a young rookie in the AHL as well, and can see Brook’s confidence growing.
“He’s holding onto the puck to find the play, he’s jumping up,” Alzner said. “There was a play in Toronto where he took the puck in the neutral zone and took it all the way to the net. That’s the type of player that he can be and he’s the type of player who’s very aware of what other people are thinking and how they’re playing. When he focuses on himself and his game it’s going to be pretty spectacular to watch. When he does that you have results like [Friday night].”
Brook had added responsibility on the power play due to the injury to Xavier Ouellet, who is normally the power play’s quarterback. Rocket head coach Joël Bouchard rotated three players in that spot, Brook, Gustav Olofsson, and Otto Leskinen.
Brook knows what he can do in that role, but hasn’t been happy with his performance with the extra player.
“I think I need to be better on the power play when I get that chance,” he said.
“We have two of the defencemen on the power play who are rookies,” Bouchard said. “We’re asking them to go on the power play where the other team has good players and there’s pressure. There’s pressure to create, to execute plays. With Xavier’s injury there’s more ice time so it’s a good opportunity for them but it’s a higher workload, a pressured workload so we try to share that between them.”
Leskinen, the other AHL rookie getting power play time, also scored a goal on the power play. After opting to pass on his first opportunities, he blasted one by McIntyre for his first career professional goal in North America. The power play went 1/6 in the 6-4 win on Friday.
“He finally did shoot it, and not a wrist shot so we were happy,” Bouchard said, laughing. “It’s a lot of pressure for the young guys so it’s nice to see Josh and Otto score.”
“I have to shoot a little bit more,” Leskinen admitted while being happy about his first AHL goal.