Rhett Pitlick, welcome to the highlight reel.
Montreal Canadiens prospect Rhett Pitlick scored one of the greatest college hockey goals of all time on Saturday night. Pitlick is a forward for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who were playing the Michigan Wolverines in the Big 10 Championship Game at 3M Arena.
Although Michigan defeated Minnesota by a 4-3 score, it was Pitlick’s goal that set the internet on fire. Early in the third period, Pitlick broke in 1-1 against a Michigan defenseman. The Habs’ prospect unleashed a flurry of dekes to drop the defender to his knees before scoring top corner.
Check out one of the best hockey goals of the entire year:
Habs prospect Rhett Pitlick with an unbelievable goal pic.twitter.com/CjgIMdSvMD
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) March 19, 2023
Pitlick’s stickhandling is incredible, but this is a good teaching moment for young hockey defensemen. The d-man in this sequence didn’t play the body and was solely focused on the puck. Because he didn’t focus on the chest of the forward, Pitlick was able to burn him with his nasty stickhandling skills.
Pitlick’s highlight-reel tally gave the Gophers the lead, but Michigan answered back with two straight unanswered goals to retake the lead. Dylan Duke potted the eventual game-winner for Michigan with 8:14 remaining, sweeping a puck past Minnesota goaltender Justen Close. As a result, the Gophers picked up their first home regulation loss since Nov. 10.
Minnesota lost the Big 10 Championship, but their season isn’t over yet. The Golden Gophers will enter the NCAA Regionals as the No. 1 overall seed for next week’s tournament. The top four teams will then advance to the Frozen Four in Tampa Bay, Florida.
This Gophers team is loaded with future NHL talent, including Coyotes’ prospect Logan Cooley and Leafs’ prospect Matthew Knies. Pitlick ranks eighth on this star-studded team in scoring, recording 10 goals and 22 points in 36 games in 2022-23.
Pitlick, who was drafted 131st overall by Montreal in 2019, is considered a long-term NHL project due to his size. At only 5’9″ and 161 lbs, Pitlick is facing an uphill battle to make it to the NHL. While his size might not be ideal, the skill Pitlick displayed on Saturday night is sure to capture the attention of the Canadiens’ brass.