Liam Kirk made his Ontario Hockey League debut last night for the Peterborough Petes, shortly after he was released from the NHLs Arizona Coyotes training camp.
The Petes selected Kirk with their first of two picks in the 2018 CHL Import Draft, after the Arizona Coyotes selected the young British forward in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
In his debut against the Kingston Frontenacs, Kirk featured on the teams second line in his OHL debut and has found a solid partnership with centre Chris Paquette and they were joined by rookie winger Cameron Butler, with the 16 year old also making his OHL debut alongside Kirk after the Petes took him in the second round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
In the opening game for the Petes, while they welcomed back Kirk they were without forward Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who is still with the Toronto Maple Leafs after surviving the first round of cuts, while the Frontenacs were without one of their stars Gabriel Vilardi who is still at training camp with the Los Angeles Kings.
Peterborough struck early in the game for the go ahead goal from Brady Hinz after Pavel Gogolev stole the puck at the blue line before finding a wide open Hinz who tucked home the shot to begin his first full year with the squad after a mid season trade brought him over from Sarnia last year, and the lead held until the end of the period with Peterborough outshooting the Kingston Frontenacs 13 – 10 in the opening frame.
Peterborough began the second strong but Kingston presses early, forcing a couple of strong saves from Petes goalie Hunter Jones who’s been made the starting goalie for the team as Dylan Wells turned pro in the Edmonton Oilers organisation.
With a lot of back and forth to start the middle period, the Petes found themselves on a five minute powerplay after a nasty check from behind on Adam Timleck by Paul Larabis saw him thrown out the game, but they couldn’t make it count, with the closest they’d get being a shot that rung off the post from Chris Paquette.
Liam Kirk almost grabbed his first goal of his OHL career after his shot caused celebrations initially, only for it to be waived away by the referees, and a quick video review confirmed it was the right call on the ice, and Peterborough carried the one goal lead into the final period.
Then in the final frame the Petes stepped it up a notch, Kirk stripped the Frontenacs defence of the puck and it fell to Chris Paquette who fired a long drive from the high slot into the back of the net, giving Kirk his first point and Peterborough a two goal lead.
Before the game was out, Peterborough would strike twice more as Nick Isaacson scored both to give Peterborough a 4 – 0 win in their season opener, with netminder Hunter Jones posting a 38 save shutout.
Following last nights win, Peterborough go on their first road trip of the season to take on the Ottawa 67s before beginning a three game home stand against Niagara, Hamilton and the Soo Greyhounds.
Featured Image Credit: NHL.com