Kent Johnson played hockey at the University of Michigan for two seasons before signing an NHL contract earlier this year.
So, it's only fitting that he'd try — and succeed — in pulling off the "Michigan" goal on one of the biggest stages in international hockey.
The Port Moody product scored what could arguably be the goal of the tournament thus far at the rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championships.
On Saturday (Aug. 13), with Canada tied 1-1 with the Czech Republic, the 19-year-old player scooped up the puck on the end of his stick behind the opposing country's net when it came loose.
He then brought the biscuit up to the crossbar and tucked it in the cage over the right shoulder of goaltender Tomas Suchanek for the 2-1 advantage with one minute left in the first period.
Johnson celebrated and his teammates appeared to be in utter shock as the lacrosse-style goal is either rarely succeeded or rarely attempted at any level of the sport.
This is due to its need for perfect timing, precise stick-handling skills, an awareness of your surroundings and perhaps a sleeping or unprepared netminder.
"It was a great feeling [to score a lacrosse-style goal], and a great goal especially given the timing of it," he said in a release from Hockey Canada following the preliminary match, which ended in a 5-1 victory the host country.
"It all happened pretty quick; I just found a loose puck behind the net and I noticed there was not a defenceman covering the right post. I just went for it and saw there was a lot of room to work with. I would have been happy to have a goal go in off my skate, but I was pretty pumped that it worked out."
The first-ever "Michigan" goal was scored by Mike Legg at the 1996 NCAA Div. I Frozen Four Championship while playing for the University of Michigan.
Since then, athletes have tried to pull it off themselves in multiple leagues — most notably Trevor Zegras of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks who scored two of them in the 2021–22 season.
The Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association alum currently has three points through three games at the 2022 World Juniors redux, including two assists, and has a plus-three (+3) rating as a second-line left-wing skater.
Johnson was named an alternate captain for Canada — the first time he's ever been given a letter on a national roster.
He's one of 16 returning Canadians on its 25-man roster, which also includes North Vancouver's Connor Bedard, Victoria's Dylan Garand and Kamloops' Logan Stankoven.
"[Johnson’s] goal was incredible. It is not something that you see every day, and I had a front row seat to it," Stankoven said, who plays on the same line as Johnson.
"I was digging for the puck and it popped out to Kent, and he scooped it onto his stick so quickly. The next thing you know, the puck was in the back of the net."
Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the initial tourney to cancel, Johnson was able to score his first goal as a member of the under-20 team.
Canada faces Finland today (Aug. 15) in a bout for the top spot in Group 'A' ahead of the World Juniors' playoff round.
Puck-drop goes for 3 p.m. Pacific time at Rogers Place in Edmonton.