Vernon Vipers forward Matt Kowalski proved he has a flair for the spectacular when he capped off a Saturday night win with an eye-popping, lacrosse-style goal.
The Vipers’ leading scorer was one goal short of a hat trick in the third period against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Jan. 11 at Kal Tire Place. The Snakes had built up a 6-3 lead and with less than nine minutes on the game clock and the team on a powerplay, Kowalski decided to end the night with fireworks.
Kowalski received a pass from JoJo Tanaka-Campbell as the two crisscrossed deep in the Bulldog’s zone near the left corner. Kowalski suddenly had a stretch of open ice behind the Bulldog net, and he put it to remarkable use.
In full stride, Kowalski scooped the puck onto his stick blade, swung his stick around while reaching forward from behind the net and tucked the puck neatly into the top corner.
Bulldogs’ goaltender Luke Pearson appeared to see the lacrosse goal coming and reached up with his glove, Kowalksi’s move was too quick to stop.
It’s a goal that’s been seen with more frequency in the past few months. Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes has scored two lacrosse-style goals so far this NHL season, and Vancouver Canucks prospect Nils Hoglander has dazzled a few audiences with the move, including those in attendance at a World Junior Championships game between Sweden and Finland on Dec. 26.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 26, 2019
The goal is often referred to as “The Michigan,” a title that pays homage to its origins. Mike Legg of the University of Michigan was the first to pull off the manoeuvre in a 1996 NCAA playoff game. His coach, Red Berenson, hails from Maple Ridge and greenlighted the move after watching Legg perfect it in practice.
Who did it better: Legg, Hoglander, or No. 7 for the home team Vipers?