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CALGARY, AB – The Calgary Flames gave former Quinnipiac University forward Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) his NHL debut on Tuesday night, inserting him into the lineup against the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Van Brabant became the first Quinnipiac hockey player ever to skate in an NHL game.
Van Brabant's first action came in the opening period of the cross-conference showdown. He took the ice for 10 shifts while logging 5:36 seconds by night's end. Van Brabant also served his first minutes in the penalty box when he was whistled for high-sticking in the first period.
Although the Calgary dropped a 3-2 decision to Toronto, it was a night that Van Brabant will remember. Toronto's David Clarkson scored a breakaway goal at 5:47 of the third period that proved to be the game-winner for the Maple Leafs. It snapped Toronto's eight-game losing streak.
Clarkson's goal gave the Maple Leafs a 3-1 lead, but the Flames made the Air Canada Centre crowd nervous when Kris Russell scored his sixth goal of the season at 7:24 of the third. Russell found room alone in the faceoff circle to the left of goalie Jonathan Bernier (19 saves) and snapped a wrist shot over his shoulder. However, the Flames never found the equalizer.
It was the second game of a five-game road trip for the Flames, who will also face playoff hopefuls in the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils. Calgary faces Tampa Bay on Thursday, April 3 in Florida.
Van Brabant, a native of Morinville, Alberta, just finished his third year at Quinnipiac (ECAC). In 40 games, he netted 15 goals and added seven assists for 22 points. Van Brabant had three multipoint games this past season - netting two goals in a 6-1 win at Merrimack (1/17), scoring one and assisting on another at Union (12/7) and handing out two assists in a 7-2 win at Colgate (11/1). He became the second Quinnipiac player in as many seasons to ink a professional contract.