On Sunday, with four minutes left in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game, LA Kings 2018 draft pick Akil Thomas scored the game-winning goal against Russia to complete the comeback for Team Canada.
Which is... kind of a big deal.
If fans weren't familiar with the 5'11" 20-year-old forward, they sure are now. Thomas and a handful of Canadian World Juniors players, including Kings prospect Aidan Dudas, were honored at Scotiabank Arena before the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Winnnipeg Jets.
As expected, the Scarborough-native received a roaring ovation from the crowd as he walked out to center ice to drop the puck.
Though the goal was Thomas' first of the tournament, it came at the perfect time. "On the bench, I was thinking, I'm going to get one more shift out here and I'm going to score," Thomas said. "Luckily the coach called me up."
"I'm so proud of him," Akil's mom said. "He worked so hard for this."
In addition to the 2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Thomas has represented Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships, 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and 2018 IIHF World U18 Championships.