PROVIDENCE, RIKyle MacKinnon doesnt do much that will jump out at you on the ice.
Hes got good skating speed and a shot thats true when given the opportunity, but his skills arent flashy or dazzling. At 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds MacKinnon isnt going to stand out for his size or strength, which are both just about "average" for a professional hockey player.
While not having a dominant skill or asset, MacKinnon is the kind of guy that does everything well and showcased that with the overtime game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The center gave the appropriate celebratory fist pump on one knee once the game was decided, and with good reason.
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I havent scored a game-winning goal like that in a whileprobably since junior hockey, said MacKinnon. So I was pretty excited.
The fourth-line Providence forward was able to finish off a sweet Matt Bartkowski pass from behind the net for the game-winner, and has earned the trust of the coaching staff to be on the ice four-on-four in the overtime session.
Were a little like the parent club in Boston where we rely on all 12 forwards and all four lines, said P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. Last year he had a quiet 14 goals for us as a rookie, which is pretty good in this league. He can kill penalties and if you need a guy to fill in on the power play he can make a play.
Hes very responsible and hes decent on draws. Theres a lot to like about him as a coach because hes really responsible. Were in so many close games that you need players like that.
The game-winner capped off a solid weekend for MacKinnon, who crammed all three of his goals this season into this past weekend. He snapped off a pair of strikes against the Manchester Monarchs on Friday night and tallied the overtime winner on Sunday, and has managed to make an impact with the limited ice time. Thats part of MacKinnons lot in life, and hes accepted that fully.
You have certain roles on the team: certain guys do certain things, said MacKinnon. I take a lot of pride in my defense. But whenever the coach calls on me to play penalty kill or puts me out there in crunch time situations, youve got to be ready. I was ready when my number was called and I was able to capitalize on it.
Perhaps it shouldnt be a surprise that MacKinnon is a nice fit with the P-Bruins after he put together a solid four-year career in Hockey East with the Providence College Friars. The Rhode Island capital city is like a second home to the California native after he put up 37 goals during his collegiate career, and he just keeps on getting better with the Bruins organization.
Things started slowly for the 25-year-old this season, but this weekends performance showed he can keep improving on the quiet 14 goal AHL season he put up last year as a rookie for the P-Bruins. MacKinnon is too old to be a prospect and was probably never flashy enough to qualify in the first place, but theres always a place in pro hockey for maximum effort guys that seem to get better all the time.
MacKinnon certainly qualifies as that, and the Providence Bruins wouldnt have enjoyed a perfect six-point weekend without him.