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Maple Leafs’ Adam Brooks: Jason Spezza’s Fanboy Scores 1st NHL Goal

What a trip Maple Leafs’ player Adam Brooks has had. Last season he had Jason Spezza sign his stick. How did Brooks top that this season?

The second game of the three-day back-to-back series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers was tied 2-2 halfway through the third period. Then captain John Tavares broke the tie with a power-play goal to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead on the way to a 4-2 final score (Mitch Marner scored into an empty net in the game’s final moments). The win gave the Maple Leafs a series split.

Related: Maple Leafs Injury News and Rumors: Matthews, Thornton, Robertson

Adam Brooks Scores First NHL goal: Thanks Spezza for His Assist

One very happy Maple Leafs’ player was forward Adam Brooks. It wasn’t Adam Brooks’ first game in the NHL, but he did score his first goal.

What a great time for Brooks to do it. The Toronto Maple Leafs needed a lift after two-thirds of the team’s top line (both Auston Matthews and Joe Thornton) was sitting out of this game with injuries.

Joe Thornton and Auston Matthews Maple Leafs

There was Brooks, skating in the bottom six, but coming through for his team. For those who don’t know Brooks’ history, he played for the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies for three seasons and finally got in seven NHL games late in the 2019-20 season. From his perspective, he learned a great deal from those seven NHL games. 

Brooks Has Had His Ups-and-Downs

As Brooks noted, “There was definitely some ups and downs with the way I played [in the NHL] and things that I would have liked to correct. But just getting your feet a little bit wet, it allowed me to learn a lot. Even the things that didn’t probably go so well for me were still learning experiences that I’m able to correct and get better at, whether the season continues and I’m able to go back to the AHL, or maybe be a Black Ace for the Leafs. And then hopefully [take that] into next season as well.”

During his seven 2019-20 games, he scored with the Maple Leafs. During his time with the Marlies, he scored 20 points (nine goals and 11 assists) in 29 games.

Prior to this season, the Maple Leafs signed the 24-year-old center to a two-year, two-way contract extension for $725,000 if he plays at the NHL level. Brooks was scheduled to become a restricted free agent during the last offseason prior to his signing.

With Thornton and Matthews Out of the Lineup, Brooks Fills the Gap

When both Thornton and Matthews were ruled unable to play, the team did some line-up scrambling. Brooks was one of those players drawing into Friday’s lineup for the team’s second game in a row against the Oilers. 

The game also warranted head coach Sheldon Keefe’s return to the more traditional game-day line-up of six defensemen and 12 forwards on Friday. Prior to the game, Brooks had skated on the team’s fourth line with Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.

After the game, Brooks was interviewed in a Sportsnet video and relived his first NHL goal, assisted by veteran Jason Spezza and defenseman T.J. Brodie in the win against the Oilers.

Almost More of a Fan than a Partner? 

When Brooks was asked about scoring his goal, he immediately acted more like a fan than a seasoned veteran when he noted: “I think for me it’s pretty cool … to play with a guy likes Spezza.”

Jason Spezza Maple Leafs
Jason Spezza, Maple Leafs

Brooks noted that, during his first NHL game ever last season, Spezza was on his wing. But he got Spezza “to sign a stick for me.” Now, he was excited that Spezza “assisted on my first goal.”

Brooks went on to note that, to have “a guy that’s played for that long of that caliber is pretty cool moment for me.” He noted, “the whole thing was pretty exciting and awesome.”

Related: Maple Leafs’ Head Coach Sheldon Keefe’s Four Goals for Nick Robertson

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