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'WHAT A MEMORY'

Mangiapane's first playoff goal a moment not he, the DAG Line, or parents Patricia and Peter will ever forget

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

The morning after, Andrew Mangiapane didn't feel as if something momentus had inexplicably, tragically gone missing.

A personal Lost Covenant or Treasure of the Knights Templar fortune, say.

He'd issued no APB or offered a reward for a return. Wolf Blitzer wasn't interrupting CNN's regularly-schedule programming with a news bulletin telling viewers to be on the alert.

"I have no idea," confessed Mangipane sheepishly when asked the current location of a precious artifact.

"No clue where it is, to be honest with you."

A resigned shrug.

"No big deal."

No big deal?! The item in question isn't a set of car keys or some gym-membership chip-card.

You'd think a fella would want to know where his first NHL playoff-goal puck was at every waking moment.

Doubly so, considering what a goal it was.

"I've watched it a couple of times," acknowledged Mangipane of his kick-start backhander that broke a scoreless tie 14:25 into the second period. "Just a good shift by our line. Hath went in on the forecheck, took his hands away so it was sitting there for me.

"And Doc had a good screen in front, set a little pick. I just wanted to get to the middle of the ice.

"A nice play all around by our line. Just happy it went in."

 

Video: COL@CGY, Gm1: Mangiapane scores beauty for Flames

 

Modesty becomes the man.

Among the 19,000-plus wedged into the Scotiabank Saddledome stands that erupted along with the red light behind Colorado goaltender Phillip Grubauer were Mangiapane's parents, Patricia and Peter, in town for the first two post-season dates.

"Very exciting," said dad. "The atmosphere in the arena was just … unbelievable. So we were already pumped up. First period, no goals, then he puts one in in the second.

"Very emotional. Very emotional.

"Just relief. He's a good player, but to get the first goal in his first playoff game? Oh my god. The monkey's off his back, right? When he first got called up it took him 20-odd games to score his first goal.

"So that pressure is off now."

Back home in Ontario, Patricia revealed, folks were burning the past-midnight oil Thursday.

"In the sleepy town of Bolton" - pop. 26,000 - "people are walking around with bags underneath their eyes,'' she said.

"These games are killers for us out there, at 1:30 (a.m.).

"Everyone's a hockey fan now. Even my husband's parents, they're up at 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, to cheer them on. Nice that everybody's getting into it."

The Mangiapane strike proved decisive, allowing the Flames to exhale and begin to re-establish rhythm lost by penalty issues.

"I think Hathaway was more excited than Andrew, I think," laughed Patricia. "But that's how it is in playoffs.

"They truly don't care how it goes in or who puts it in as long long as it's in.

"It was a relief, that goal. You could tell. They could all take a deep breath and start to play hockey."

The lustre, the quality, of the finish, too, seemed to revitalize the homestanding Flames.

This was the kind of goal a guy can call up on YouTube 30 years from now to show the kids and maybe grandkids just how much moxie the old man had back in the day.

"I haven't seen the replay," confessed Ryan, "but from my first-hand perspective we rimmed it around and he did a good job picking it off the wall. I was kinda net-front, trying to pick off the wall. I was trying to be net-front, picking off the D-man.

"He showed good patience.

"Mang is a skilled player. He makes plays like that whether it's the Stanley Cup Playoffs or whatever. I'm not surprised.

"That first goal is huge, for sure. Especially Game 1 of a playoff series, teams are kinda feeling each other out a little bit. The home crowd, you want to get them energized even more than then already are.

"The first goal obviously did that."

Fellow 'DAG Line' stablemate and longtime pal Garnet Hathaway was first to the scene, mobbing his teammate and offering a few jabs to the ribs in a flash of elation both will not soon forget.

 

 

"I was SO excited for him," recalled a grinning Hathaway. "And a heckuva play, too. I can't express it. A moment I'll remember for a long time.

"That, selflessness, is what makes our line work, I think. We - those guys especially - don't want credit alone. You break it down - Mang wasn't even on the ice when it all started. Razzie made a nice play, great dump, got it by the goalie and that's when it started, right?

"A lot of guys were a part of it.

"But that's our line. That's our team."

Indubitably, but there's only one GWG Goal Scorer per on any stat sheet.

"A got a few texts from friends and family saying 'Congrats,'" revealed Mangiapane. "Some Instagram posts and all that.

"I slept pretty good.

"Nothing out of the ordinary."

Unlike his goal, which most certainly was.

As it turns out, there's also a happy ending to the Case of the Missing Puck.

The Flames had, in fact, retrieved the precious object for milestone framing.

So, safe and sound.

"What a memory,'' said dad the day after, awaiting Game 2.

"We all have Stanley Cup Playoff memories. I grew up a Leafs fan and as a 10- or 12-year-old kid I still remember Lanny McDonald scoring his goal against the Islanders.

"It was so exciting.

"And I hope my son's goal has the same effect on some young kid out there watching him.

"And this is just the start. He has more goals, more memories, in him."

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