Four AHL grads dent NHL twine for first time

firstgoals_400.jpgFour American Hockey League players scored their first career National Hockey League goals in action on Saturday night.

Ryan Callahan, one of the AHL’s outstanding rookies in 2006-07, brought the luck of the Irish to Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day and netted his first two NHL goals in the New York Rangers’ 7-0 win over Boston.

Callahan, who turns 22 this Wednesday, was playing in just his fourth NHL game.

A fourth-round pick by the Rangers in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Callahan ranks third among AHL rookies with 35 goals for the Hartford Wolf Pack this season. He has added 20 assists for 55 points in 60 games with Hartford, and played in the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, scoring the game-winning goal for PlanetUSA with 3.3 seconds left.

Kyle Brodziak of the Edmonton Oilers and Jeff Woywitka of the St. Louis Blues both scored their first NHL goal in the Blues’ 3-2 overtime win in Edmonton.

Brodziak, 22, has set career highs with 21 goals and 46 points in 49 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2006-07.

The goal was his first point in 16 career NHL games with the Oilers over the past two seasons.

Woywitka, a former Oilers prospect, was playing his 49th NHL game on the Blues’ blue line. He was credited with 18 assists in 41 AHL games with Peoria this season, his fourth as a pro.

The 23-year-old Woywitka was a first-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2001. He skated in Edmonton for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in 2004-05.

David Clarkson, appearing in his second career NHL game after making his debut on Thursday night, picked up a goal and an assist in New Jersey’s 7-2 loss to Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

Clarkson, 22, has registered 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points in 58 AHL games with the Lowell Devils in 2006-07.

He was named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 14, 2007, after recording eight points in two games, including a four-goal performance vs. Philadelphia.