Fellow North Dakota alumni Brock Boeser scored in his first NHL game and so did 2016 draft classmates Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews, with Matthews notching four goals in his debut. It took three extra games for Tyson Jost to notch his 1st NHL goal, but the feeling was no less sweet for the Avalanche’s top pick in 2016. At 5:44 into the second period, Tyson Jost cut the Minnesota Wild’s 2-0 lead in half and spurred the first of two Avalanche rallies in Thursday night’s loss. With the tally, Jost became the 6th player in his draft class to notch a goal in the NHL.
“He made a great play on the goal just to make that shot in general.” Coach Bednar said after the game, “Gathering it on his backhand, getting it to his forehand and still having to avoid the stick that’s laying on the ice there and getting it up over Dubnyk’s shoulder is a high skill play.”
Jost’s first goal was one worthy of the highlight reels, as he pulled the puck around an errant stick before beating Devan Dubnyk cleanly with a wrist shot. “It’s hard to put a finger on what you dream about.” he said of his first goal, “there have been a lot of scenarios that went through my head about my first goal. I’m just happy today was the day and its nice to get that off my chest.”
Having moved from the BCHL, to the NCAA, and now the NHL in under a calendar year, Tyson Jost is tackling the learning curve of professional hockey at break-neck speed and that means plenty of bumps in the road. Despite his personal offensive milestone, the Avalanche’s youngest player was critical of his 200-foot game in Thursday night’s loss calling it “one of [his]weakest games” in the NHL.
“I thought my first three games were really good. I was making smart plays and playing good in the D zone” Jost said. “I thought I was really weak on faceoffs today which is disappointing because I take a lot of pride in that. I was going against Hanzal and he’s a big body and vet in this league. It’s just a few things I need to work on in the offseason and prime up for next season. I’ve got to keep working and get better every shift.”
Jost struggled mightily on the faceoff dot, winning just one of the 13 draws he took, and found himself hemmed in the defensive zone too often, finishing the night with 35.71% raw corsi for at even strength. On the scoresheet, Jost finished the night with a -1 +/- rating thanks to a critical defensive zone turnover that led to Nate Prosser‘s first period goal.
Those kinds of mistakes are natural for a player Jost’s age working to break into the NHL for the first time, and they didn’t stop his linemate Gabe Landeskog from praising the rookie’s first taste of NHL action:
“It’s not easy to come in like that and start making an impact. But he’s made an impact right from the first game and shown a lot of talent and determination, and [he’s] not afraid to go to the dirty areas and then obviously tonight, he shows off his skill with a quick shot. He’s been fun to play with so far, and he has a bright future.”
For tonight, the lost faceoffs, defensive snafu, and team loss will eat at Tyson Jost and that’s ok. The 19-year-old center’s apparent hunger and his focus on making an impact on both sides of the puck is a reprieve from the complacency that’s crept into the Avalanche organization in recent years. In time those growing pains will fade and all that will remain is the memory of his first NHL goal, with his now infamous grandfather, Jim, on hand to celebrate.
“It’s great to have my grandpa in the stands. He’s kind of my secret weapon throughout my whole life. He knows a lot about hockey I don’t think people realize how great of a hockey mind he is. I owe him a lot.”