Agostino Shines in Whirlwind Week
by Matt Slovin/CHN Reporter
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Some fans of the Calgary Flames were left wondering, “who’s that?” earlier this week about newly acquired Kenny Agostino, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers got to know him quite well Friday.
Yale’s Agostino was part of the trade late Wednesday that sent Calgary captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flames also acquired the Penguins’ first-round selection in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, as well as Ben Hanowski, formerly of St. Cloud State.
Agostino capped off the busy week by tallying two points in the Bulldogs’ thrilling 3-2, upset win over Minnesota, including the helper on the game-winning goal just nine seconds into the overtime period — an NCAA tournament record. He also scored at the 7:08 mark of the second period for the first goal of the game.
“It’s been an exciting couple days for me, for sure,” Agostino said after his tireless forecheck helped force the turnover that led to the game-winning goal. “As far as the trade goes, it was a little bit of a surprise. ... But I really put that in the back of my mind and started focusing on Minnesota.”
That’s no easy task for a college student who had just been swapped for a superstar.
After the game, Bulldog coach Keith Allain said that he could tell right away that Agostino’s pressure was going to cause a mistake in the Minnesota end. Meanwhile, the Golden Gophers were just getting seated on their bench with the extra frame just getting underway.
“We talked about it before that faceoff that I was going to go pressure their ‘D’ no matter where the puck was won,” Agostino said. “I ended up feeling like he was going to bobble that one. It was a fortunate bounce and Jesse (Root, who scored the game-winner) did a good job getting over.”
Root, a Pittsburgh-area native, described the play from his perspective.
“I lost the draw, so I was going to my fore-check spot. Kenny put great pressure on their defense. He had to turn and kept pressuring them,” said Root. “He ended up behind the net. Ken forced the turnover and he looked off (Andrew) Miller and put it right to me. I was heading to my position on the left wing. Goalie never saw the pass. I had the puck come to me with an empty side of the net. I just tried to get it off as quick as I could.”
But the 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore says he isn’t done with what’s been a special week. Yale, not a popular pick to reach this stage, isn’t satisfied with merely unseating Minnesota. The Bulldogs are clamoring for a regional championship.
“We take each game one at a time, but we came here to win this regional,” Agostino said. “We’re trying to win a national championship. … We knew we could play with anyone in the country.
“We’ll do whatever we can to get a win, and I think that showed tonight.”
Next up for Yale is the winner of North Dakota and Niagara.