Happy Birthday, Rickard Hugg.
The Swede celebrated his 20th birthday in fashion on East Avenue. He had a career-high four points, and the Kitchener Rangers romped the Windsor Spitfires 7-4, Friday.
"Feels pretty good, not going to lie," smiled Hugg, who was wearing the firefighter's helmet for Player of the Game.
The Hudiksvall, Sweden native has seven points in his last three games, after going pointless in his first three, back from representing his country at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver and Victoria.
"Of course. it's a boost to my confidence. It's a childhood dream come true," said Hugg, who's averaging over a point a game this season. "I'm just trying to bring the speed we had over there and bring it back over here."
The import-forward had a point on the first four Rangers' goals Friday, but was held off the score sheet in the third period when Kitchener scored three more.
His offensive output was dwarfed by his linemate, Riley Damiani, who had a career-high five points; all of them assists.
"We had a great game," said Hugg. "He's so skilled. He makes it so easy. He's a smart player, and we connect good together."
"I saw a lot of guys open, and I took advantage of it," said Damiani, with four primary helpers.
"Guys like Damiani, Hugg, [Greg] Meireles, they work extremely hard in games," said Kitchener head coach Jay McKee. "Those three guys are part of a four-man rotation wearing letters because of, not only their work ethic on the ice, but in practice. They're exceptional. Those guys bring it."
"Even on a game-day skate, when you're out there for 15 minutes, they work. That's what you want to build a culture around. That's why those guys are leaders. When you work that hard everyday, you end up getting rewarded."
In the win, Jonathan Yantsis, Kitchener's leading goal-scorer notched his 31st and 32nd of the campaign. He was the only multi-goal-scorer on the night.
Alex Lipanov, Justin MacPherson, Meireles, and Ryan Stepien joined Hugg and Yantsis on the scoresheet.
Kitchener held a 7-2 lead until the final two minutes of the game, when the Spits potted two late-game goals.
The Rangers are back at home, for their fourth-straight game, when they host the Owen Sound Attack Sunday.
Pregame on 570 NEWS starts at 1:30 p.m.
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Story by Chris Pope.