Noah Hanifin went back to Boston Thursday night March 10. His Carolina Hurricanes were in town to face the Boston Bruins. It was a homecoming of sorts for the former Boston College standout, who has laced up NHL skates at the start of the season and has not looked back.
Hanifin for the Win
The 19-year old first round pick for the ‘Canes, (fifth overall) in last year’s NHL Entry Draft has lived up to and possibly exceeded the hype that surrounded him at this time last year. In 65 games Hanifin has three goals and 13 assists, one of which came against Boston to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 win in overtime.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 11, 2016
The game-winner by Phil Di Giuseppe was all Hanifin. Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe describes the play perfectly:
“After playing the puck back to Ward, the goalie dropped it off for his young defenseman. At the same time, Bergeron headed for the bench for a change. Hanifin read that he could catch Bergeron with his pants down. Bergeron realized too late that Jeff Skinner was pulling away down the ice. Before Bergeron could recover, Hanifin snapped a long-distance pass onto Skinner’s blade. Tuukka Rask stuffed Skinner’s bid, but Di Giuseppe was in the right place to bang home the rebound.”
To sum it up more directly, the kid has got a ton of hockey sense and put it to use last night to set his team up for the winning goal. The ‘Canes have a phenomenal young talent in Hanifin, and Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said after the game that he has a huge upside.
Home Town Love
Hanifin’s family was out in force to support him Thursday night. Nearly 50 family members packed a suite in TD Garden to watch his first game there as a player in the NHL. They were not disappointed, as Hanifin not only got an assist on the game-winning goal in overtime, but got another in the first period when Elias Lindholm scored on the power play to put the ‘Canes up 1-0.
The night started out as very special for young Noah as he was sent out by his teammates for a skate around the Hurricanes’ end of ice at the beginning of warm ups:
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 10, 2016
Hanifin has a huge upside and already is making it clear that he belongs in the NHL. Along with other Hurricanes “young guns” he is keeping this team close to a wild card spot in the playoffs, and reigniting hockey as something special in Raleigh, NC. The ‘Canes making the playoffs is still an uphill climb, but this team is well beyond what anyone would have predicted in October. I think these young players are going to keep fighting as long as there is a chance. I like it…a lot.
Featured Image Photo by (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)