It wasn’t in the plans for Joey Daccord to start Sunday for the Ottawa Senators, but an injury to Matt Murray in warmups thrust the 24-year-old into action, and to his first NHL win.
In an unlikely event, Daccord staved off a late push from the division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs, earning his first-ever victory in the pros by a score of 4-3. When talking about the game afterwards, the 2015 seventh-round pick was visibly overcome by emotions.
“I’m going to get emotional. Definitely not the way I drew it up in my head, but against the Leafs, at home, obviously a crazy situation and that’s why you’ve got to always be ready,” Daccord said. “What an effort out of our group. I don’t even have words right now, I just want to thank my family for everything they’ve done for me. It’s pretty special.”
While giving his answer, you could tell the North Andover, Massachusetts, native was trying hard to fight back tears.
Later during his post-game press conference, Daccord expanded further on his feelings.
“What an incredible feeling,” Daccord said. “The effort the guys gave tonight was outstanding and just a really special moment. I hope my family and friends are watching because they probably didn’t know I was playing. Just an incredible feeling, special night, to do it against such a good team like the Leafs too, and do it at home, incredible. Puts in perspective the journey I’ve taken to get here and all the people and the places and things I’ve done, and all the work that’s gone into it. It’s incredible.”
It took Daccord seven NHL outings across five-plus years with the organization to collect NHL win No. 1, but it certainly seems like it was worth the wait.
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