Auston Matthews’ Incredible NHL Debut
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Auston Matthews, 19, is an American professional ice hockey player who plays center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. At two years of age, Auston began attending Phoenix Coyote games. He took a particular interest in watching the Zamboni make its rounds during intermissions instead of watching the actual game. At age five, he told his parents that he wanted to play hockey. Though he grew up playing both hockey and baseball, his true heart and passion was in the game of hockey. After playing two seasons of Junior hockey, Matthews’ talent was finally recognized by NHL scouts. After missing the 2015 NHL draft age cutoff by just two days, Matthews was selected first overall in the 2016 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On October 12, Auston made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators. Minutes after the start of the game, he took his first shot on goal from a pass from behind the net which resulted in his first NHL goal. Just over 5 minutes later, after beating every Senators player on the ice, Matthews scored his second goal of the game by going 5-hole on Craig Anderson. Barely a minute into the second period, Matthews scored his third goal with no defensive coverage, earning himself a hat trick. Hats quickly flooded the ice as Maple Leaf fans went crazy from him making NHL history. With three seconds left in the second period, Matthews scored his fourth and final goal after being assisted by teammate Nylander, making Matthews the first rookie to score four goals in his NHL debut.
After the game, Matthews was celebrated by other NHL players such as Kris Letang, Tyler Seguin, and Roberto Luongo, and even his childhood idol, Daniel Brière. The Maple Leafs ended up losing the game 5-4 after overtime and a shootout, but not before experiencing a stellar performance from Auston. Maple Leafs fans and the NHL are expecting big things from Matthews in his future and plenty more goals to come.