Major moment for Brent

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

TORONTO - When Tim Brent heard the puck hit the crossbar before bounding its way to his magical first goal as a Maple Leaf, the celebration couldn't come quick enough.

He had dreamt of the moment many times growing up just west of the GTA and as the Air Canada Centre erupted following the opening Leafs goal of the new season, he wasn't alone in celebrating.

That he had made the team as its third-line centre was at least a mild surprise exiting training camp and his strictly defined and readily accepted role is to shut down the other team's big guns.

But when he got a stick on Dion Phaneuf's shot from the point and directed a nifty deflection past Habs goaltender Carey Price, it was a big bonus for all those who had faith in him.

"I heard it hit the crossbar and I wanted to make sure it crossed the line before I celebrated," said Brent, a 26-year-old who was signed as a free agent in July and was playing in just his 20th NHL game.

"It was unbelievable. It was everything a little boy growing up in Cambridge playing road hockey pretending he was a Maple Leaf was all about. There are so many people who have had a hand in my career and more importantly how I have grown up as a person.

"I'm just happy I was able to share it with them," Brent said of his second career NHL goal.

While the Leafs will employ Brent primarily as a checking centre, coach Ron Wilson appreciates the thrill Brent likely will carry with him for a lifetime.

"It was a dream come true for him obviously," Wilson said following the 3-2 win. "I'm happy for Timmy Brent."


Videos

Photos