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by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
Viktor Tikhonov played 12 NHL games and change before scoring his first goal. It was worth the wait.

Tikhonov, whom the Coyotes traded up to select with the 28th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, netted his first goal Sunday night to trigger Phoenix’s come-from-behind, 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Tikhonov watched while other Coyotes rookies - Kyle Turris, Kevin Porter, and Mikkel Boedker - scored their first NHL goals in the first 12 games and celebrated with them. He never panicked, knowing his turn would come.

Viktor Tikhonov celebrates his first career NHL goal against the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Scoring his first NHL goal in his first regular-season game against San Jose is icing on his cake because Tikhonov’s father, Vasily, was a coach with the Sharks for six years, and Viktor grew up hanging around the team’s home rink in San Jose.

“You know, it is an amazing feeling,” Tikhonov said. “I have been waiting for quite a while, especially against San Jose, I couldn’t ask for more. It couldn't be any better. I know a lot of the guys there, I am sure they are happy for me, too.”

Tikhonov’s father was at Arena on Sunday and felt relief for his son.

“I am very proud,” Vasily Tikhonov said with a smile. “Now I can call my father and tell him Viktor scored.”

Vasily’s father, also named Viktor, is the legendary Russian national hockey coach. Some may remember him best as Herb Brooks’ counterpart in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Tikhonov scored his goal at 12:07 of the first period past Brian Boucher from the left circle with the Coyotes trailing 2-0.

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