Angus Crookshank notched a power-play marker in his Canadian Tire Centre debut, kickstarting a BSens’ three-goal third-period outburst which ultimately ended in a 5-4 loss to the Laval Rocket.
The 21-year old’s first eight American League outings were all on the road in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary.
“It was cool the other day at practice. It was cool looking up and seeing triple-decked seats. It’s pretty overwhelming at first. I couldn’t even imagine having 20,000 people in here screaming. It was cool to play a game in here. It’s a special place to play, that’s for sure,” said Crookshank post-game Wednesday evening.
A proven point-getter at the NCAA level, the Senators 2018 fifth-round selection, posted nine goals, nine assists in his 20 games this season playing for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Crookshank has continued compiling points since inking his deal March 17. The North Vancouver native is averaging more than a point-per-game with Belleville, garnering 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in only nine games. In fact, Crookshank has failed to pick up at least one point only once – opening his pro career with points in his first six games.
Belleville head coach Troy Mann has been impressed to the say the least with the play of the left wing, telling Full Press Hockey, “He’s been a pleasant surprise. Obviously, kids come in from major junior and NCAA – specifically lower round picks, you don’t know what type of adjustment it’s going to be. But he’s certainly played very well for us by the offensive numbers. I love how he goes to the paint – loves going to that net, and that’s why he’s going to be a player who’s going to score.”
Like any young player learning to make his mark, Crookshank still has plenty to learn. Though he scored a goal versus the Rocket, launching five shots on net, Crookshank was on the ice for four of five goals against.
“Quite frankly tonight from a defensive perspective, him and (Egor) Sokolov were on for four goals against. Certainly, those are areas that will get better, not to say the goals were their responsibility. It’s a five-man unit out there. Some things happen – (Lassi) Thomson turnover – some of those things are just unavoidable from a defensive perspective. We’re going to continue to work on that part of the game. But in terms of tenacity, skating ability and his playmaking ability, it’s been fantastic so far,” explained Mann.
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Crookshank , himself recognizes he still has work to do to become a 200-foot player, “I knew there was going to be a adjustment. I don’t think I’m still there. I have a long ways to go, especially I had a couple of breakdowns on my side defensively. I mean it’s lucky enough to be playing with very good players that make my job offensively a hell of a lot easier.”
The Political Science and Justice Studies major acknowledged to Full Press Hockey, there’s a major difference between skating in the college ranks comparatively to the AHL, “There’s a ton. Everyone is structurally sound. Plays have to be done quicker. Players are bigger, stronger, faster. It’s a game of instincts. At the end of the day you have to be stronger, faster to be successful.”