He’s clearly a man of his word.
Longpre had two goals, including a game-saving score with 15.4 seconds left in the third period to even the contest at 3-3, and he assisted on the overtime game-winner 16 seconds into extra time to lead the Vancouver Canucks past the Calgary Flames 4-3 Monday night at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C.
This isn’t Longpre’s first prospects rodeo, he attended camps with the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks while playing four years at Robert Morris University. In both instances he was let go and left to wonder what might have been. He came to Vancouver determined to re-write his story and the ear-to-ear smile on his face post-game said it all.
His hunt to land his first professional contract is off to an impressive start.
“It feels good, I know what I can do and to be able to go out there and do it is great,” said Longpre, surrounded by reporters.
“I’m just trying to make the best of it and come in day in and day out just trying to make a name for myself and doing the best I can.”
Another solid effort like this and Longpre’s days of being overlooked could come to an end.
A head’s up play from the 23-year-old brought this back and forth game to an end when he tore down the left wing moments after puck drop. When confronted by Calgary defenders, he flipped the puck towards the goal where Antoine Roussel was waiting.
“I was just trying to beat my d-man wide, I didn’t know my winger was busting to the net too and sure enough it went into the net,” chuckled Longpre.
No laughing from coach Craig MacTavish, he was seriously impressed with Longpre for the second straight game.
“I think he was real nervous in his first game, in the first period anyways, then he started to settle in in Game 1 last night and tonight he got a goal and then often as it’s the case, it really helped his confidence,” said MacTavish, who had similarly high praise for Canucks goaltender Karel St. Laurent, the man behind a stellar 44-save performance.
St. Laurent was beat three times, once in each period, but two of the goals were as greasy as they come and they found the back of the net by chance as much as anything else.
“Tonight Karl was outstanding and it was typical Flames hockey where there was battle for position in front of the goal and hack and whack and that’s how they got a couple of goals, but he had a lot of action.”
St. Laurent, also here on a tryout basis, couldn’t have been happier the Canucks pulled out the victory.
“To comeback at the end of the game and win it, it shows we got a lot of character in this room,” said St. Laurent.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys and we believed that we were going to win that game tonight and we worked hard.”