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 Joe’s even aware of him.

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

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

“It’s 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) I’ve learned a lot. I’ve soaked up a ton of experience and the coaches have been awesome with me. I’ll carry as much of that back to junior as I can.”

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca


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