by Matthew Tidcombe | AHL On The Beat
Throughout the first 15 games of the Belleville Senators’ inaugural American Hockey League season, there have been a lot of firsts.
There was the first goal in franchise history by Thomas Chabot. Then the first win in team history against the Hershey Bears.
And then, last Saturday night, there was the Senators’ first hat trick.
Riverview, N.B., native Jordan Murray had a pair of goals in a 5-4 overtime win against the Rochester Americans at Yardmen Arena, including the clutch OT winner.
Murray’s ‘first’ of the night came at 2:42 of the third before he secured the overtime winner with just 54 seconds to play.
But in the second period, with the Sens down 3-1, Murray launched a shot from just inside the blue-line that found its way past Rochester goaltender Adam Wilcox.
Murray’s hands shot in the air. He thought he had his first of the season. The Sens’ digital media manager pushed it out online as a Murray goal. Belleville broadcasters Jack Miller and David Foot called it as a goal for Murray.
But then the PA announcement rang through the rink moments later:
‘Belleville Senators goal…his third of the season, scored by No. 17, Max McCormick.’
A humble man, Murray was asked postgame if he should have had three.
“I honestly don’t know. Max said he didn’t tip that first one so it could be three but it honestly doesn’t matter. I’m just glad we won.”
Just 24 hours later, Murray had himself a hat trick, the first in team history, after the play was reviewed and a request made from Sens video coach Dylan Crawford.
“It’s pretty humbling for sure,” Murray said of scoring the franchise’s first hat trick. “Obviously scoring in this league is extremely hard and being able to get three in one game is something I’ll never forget.
“It was extra special because my parents and grandfather were in town for the weekend.”
For Murray, scoring is what he does. In 13 career AHL games, the 24-year-old has four goals and three assists. He played three games in the ECHL earlier this year with the Brampton Beast, scoring a goal while he was there.
During his University of New Brunswick career, where he won two USports national titles, Murray played at a point-per-game pace, amassing 111 points (34 goals, 77 assists) in 111 games and collecting two USports Defenseman of the Year awards. In his QMJHL days, Murray tallied 95 points in 186 games, including a career-high 56 in his final year with Drummondville, fourth-most for a defenseman that season.
“Any time I can get points as an offensive defenseman is huge,” Murray said. “It’s my job. I think that’s one of the reasons why I am here, so to score is a huge confidence boost.”
And he’s got a big fan in Sens head coach Kurt Kleinendorst.
“We feel like we got a good player there and I think he just kind of reinforced that,” Kleinendorst said. “He’s a good person, he works hard and this is what he’s capable of when he puts his mind to it.
“So, I’m really happy with him, obviously.”
And so is the rest of Belleville.