It’s safe to say that Trent Frederic had paid his dues for the Boston Bruins prior to getting his first career NHL goal.
The 23-year-old Frederic did it in a big moment, too, as part of a four-goal uprising in the second period that pushed the Bruins to a 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Sunday night’s outdoor game at Lake Tahoe. Frederic scored the second of two goals in a 33-second span as he spun and fired from beyond the face-off circle and launched a top corner rocket that cleanly beat Carter Hart’s glove hand before celebrating the NHL milestone with his teammates.
First-goal vibes. pic.twitter.com/eqKqSbZrJG
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 22, 2021
The goal arrived in Frederic’s 33rd career NHL game and a couple of seasons after his NHL debut, where he got his first NHL fight out of the way quickly when he dropped the gloves and pounded Winnipeg’s Branden Tanev. Needless to say, Frederic was a little stunned after a jubilant on-ice celebration of his first score with the Black and Gold that he’s probably thought about a million times since he was a hockey-loving kid in St. Louis.
“It was kind of a pinch yourself moment,” said Frederic, who has scored 27 goals in 127 AHL games over the last three seasons including a career-high 14 goals two years ago. “It was a little different being outdoors and with no fans, you don’t exactly get the loud noise and stuff. So, it took me a moment to realize how real it was. It was cool.”
Certainly, nobody is expecting the score is going to lead to Frederic turning into a David Pastrnak-style sniper at the NHL level, but a little more offense from the former first rounder would be ideal to go along with his punishing, physical style.
Frederic has carved out a role for himself in Boston as a gritty, physical and hard-to-play against forward and now it’s about seeing how good he can be in all facets of the game. The truculence will be his bread-and-butter at the NHL level, but there’s some skill and offense to be developed in the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder as well.
“Getting his first NHL goal, it took him a while,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I think that’s always a great thing to get behind you and look forward to the next one. I think for him that’s probably a nice moment.”
It was also important to the Boston Bruins as a functional hockey team, as secondary offense from players like Frederic, Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie is going to allow Boston to extend leads, win hockey games and overwhelm other teams with their depth. That’s exactly what they did against an undermanned Flyers group that’s still missing plenty of their best bodies due to the COVID-19 protocols that have hit them over the last few weeks.
“It’s good for the group when you’re not leaning so much on those top guys in tight games,” said Cassidy. “To know in our heads that if we play the right way that we can [extend the lead] and to know it’s in the room…I thought we hung in there pretty good after the first period. [The Flyers] took advantage of some opportunities, but I thought we just kept playing the right way.
“They didn’t just open the floodgates and say ‘Hey let’s trade chances and see who can win the game 6-5.’ That was a good thing. We extended the lead the right way. We’re playing for the next goal, but not at the expense of letting teams back in the game. And seeing some different guys puck pucks in the net: Coyle obviously, Ritchie has done a good job on the power play in front [but got an even-strength goal], Frederic with his first and Johnny Moore contributing some plays from the back end. It’s a good sign that [the offense] was spread out a little bit.”
And it’s an encouraging sign in Frederic’s NHL development that he finally got the monkey off his back with his first NHL goal, and he can go right back to being an extremely effective physical energy forward that’s now shown he can shoot the puck a little bit as well.