Awesome night for Leaf's McKegg

Rob Longley, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. On the advice of one famous St. Thomas NHLer, Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson gave a kid from the same home town a chance Thursday night at the John Labatt Centre.

The result was a memory to last a lifetime in a 3-2 Toronto shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers in an NHL pre-season game.

Gregg McKegg, a Leafs draft pick this past spring was spared the first round of team cuts to get a chance to perform in front of family and friends.

And the youngster responded with a nice goal and a huge roar from his many supporters from his home town, nearby St. Thomas.

(San Jose Sharks star and fellow St. Thomas native Joe Thornton) and I text a lot and he said I better give him a game to help the kid out, Wilson said. So Joes even aware of him.

(McKegg) will be playing junior hockey this year and hes got a lot of guys ahead of him. But I was impressed with the way he performed in training camp. Thats why I rewarded him with a game.

McKegg will be returning to the Ontario Hockey Leagues Erie Otters, possibly as soon as this weekend, but with a fresh taste of NHL experience to call upon.

Its definitely nice to get an NHL goal and it was a pretty awesome feeling, McKegg said.

The two weeks here (in rookie camp and the main training camp) Ive learned a lot. Ive soaked up a ton of experience and the coaches have been awesome with me. Ill carry as much of that back to junior as I can.