The pride and joy of Dakota Sioux Nation, Zach Whitecloud has picked up his first career NHL goal. Coming in the third period of Thursday’s Vegas Golden Knights Round Robin victory over the St. Louis Blues, the 23-year-old of Brandon now has two points in two postseason contests.
“It’s definitely fun to contribute, and obviously at a time like that (third period, playoffs), but at the end of the day, you score your first one and you’ve just got to get back to work right away,” Whitecloud said postgame alongside Mark Stone at the podium. “That’s what hockey is in a game like that – an important game like that. Yeah, it’s definitely exciting, and enjoy the moment, but get back to work right away.”
Despite not officially appearing in the stats column of his regular season tallies, Whitecloud will have a No. 1 beside his goal totals in postseason play, in what has become the most unique playoff scenario in recent memory. With Vegas finishing within the top-four teams of the Western Conference (as determined by points percentage), the NHL’s second-newest franchise dodged a best-of-five qualifying round play-in, and has been participating in a four-game Round Robin tournament alongside the Colorado Avalanche, the Dallas Stars and the Blues.
In a game that saw 10 total goals, and six in the middle stanza, Whitecloud picked up his first career marker on a third-period strike off of a strong pinch from the offensive zone blueline. In collecting the puck off the stick of fellow 23-year-old Nicolas Roy, Whitecloud put it up high over a struggling Jordan Binnington, tying the game at fours early in the final frame.
Shortly after the former Virden Oil Capitals defenceman gave Vegas the lead, another Manitoban added to the Golden Knights’ offensive success, as Mark Stone also beat Binnington, helping the now 2-0-0 Vegas team to a 6-4 victory over a winless Blues squad. The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is expected to be announced on Monday, following the completion of all other series.