(1090 The Fan) — Mathew Barzal, the 2012 first-round Bantam pick, made his WHL regular season debut Saturday, faring well with an assist on Roberts Lipsbergs’ first goal and a goal as the opening shooter in the shootout. Barzal, 16, didn’t seem to be overwhelmed against a quality opponent like Portland and in front of an electric Seattle crowd.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Barzal said. “We showed that we are going to be a good team this year.”
In the shootout, Barzal almost let the puck get away from him before beating Portland keeper Brendan Burke. He explained the unique situation by saying that he had no idea the puck was going to make a run like it did.
“I was lucky I got it back,” he said. “If I would have pushed it any further it would’ve been a dump in.”
Barzal also wasn’t fazed when he found himself as the first skater in the shootout.
“A little bit (surprised). We have a lot of talent on this team, guys who can score in the shootout. When he called my name, I was ready. I have been working on my shootout a lot in practice this week and I had one in the Everett tournament which I scored in.”
With his debut behind him, Barzal should be able to settle in and become one of the T-Birds key contributors offensively. This is a kid with a lot of talent and he sure showed that in his first game as a T-Bird. Seattle will need him as it hopes to improve upon a seventh place Western Conference finish last season.
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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