Hirose nets first NHL goal

Fresh off signing an entry-level deal after his junior season at Michigan State University, former Salmon Arm Silverbacks standout Taro Hirose has had an immediate impact upon joining the Detroit Red Wings. After registering an assist in each of his first five games, the Calgary, Alta. native achieved another milestone in his seventh career game on Sunday when he tallied his first NHL goal in a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins.

The goal came eight seconds after the Red Wings tied the game at three with a power-play goal early in the third period. Hirose drove the net after the ensuing centre-ice faceoff win and one-timed home a pass from teammate Andreas Athanasiou for what proved to be the game-winning tally.

“It was surreal just to get the first one out of the way,” he said in a release from the Red Wings. “I feel like I’ve been playing a little bit better, getting some chances, so it was good to get the first one. I think there’s parts of my game that I would like to clean up, in the D-zone, sort of being a little more solid. Points-wise, they’re sort of coming in bunches for me right now, so I’m just trying to keep it rolling.”

Hirose has six points in seven games since signing with Detroit on Mar. 12.

The 22-year-old is coming off a season at Michigan State where he led the NCAA in scoring with 50 points (15 goals, 35 assists), was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a unanimous choice as a First-Team All-Star. He’s also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for the top player in the NCAA.

Over his three-year collegiate career with the Spartans he totaled 116 points in 106 games.

Hirose played two seasons in Salmon Arm from 2014 to 2016 where he put up 121 points in 116 games.