Welcome to the NHL, Connor Clifton.
Clifton, a 2013 fifth-round pick by the then-Phoenix Coyotes, made his NHL debut Friday night when the Boston Bruins squared off with the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
The young blueliner certainly let his presence be known, as he engaged in fisticuffs with veteran forward Jason Spezza in the third period. Clifton got the best of his opponent, who’s 12 years his senior, landing a few big punches before the two crashed to the ice.
You can watch the bout here.
Clifton admitted after the Bruins’ 1-0 overtime loss that he didn’t envision his first game at the NHL level playing out as it did.
“When you dream it up I don’t expect to have nine penalty minutes in my first game,” Clifton said, as seen during NESN’s Bruins postgame coverage. “Obviously emotions were high. I don’t really know what happened, ended up getting in a scrap.”
The 23-year-old also noted that Spezza was looking to fight more than he was, but that “it is what it is.”
Clifton surely would have liked to go home a winner in his debut, but we imagine he can live with the fact that he made a noteworthy first impression.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports