'The Kid' from Whitehorse coming up big in WHL playoffs

Sixteen year-old Dylan Cozens, called up to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, scored the tying goal in the dying minutes of a do-or-die playoff game Tuesday night, paving the way for the Hurricanes to move on to round three.

Dylan Cozens, called up to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, scores tying goal in final minutes of game

Dylan Cozens scored a big goal in the Western Hockey Playoffs Tuesday night. (Lethbridge Hurricanes)

A Yukon teen, dubbed "the pride of Whitehorse," got a shout out from Ron MacLean during Tuesday night's NHL broadcast after a big night in the Western Hockey League playoffs.

Dylan Cozens scored the game tying goal with just 2:43 left in the game for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, in their do-or-die game 7 against the Medicine Hat Tigers. 

Team captain Tyler Wong clinched the series for the Hurricanes with an overtime goal, and the team now moves on to the league semi-finals against the Regina Pats.

The Hurricanes' general manager, Peter Anholt, said he's not surprised Cozens may have exceeded expectations in Tuesday's game.

"In a real tough game, and a big game, it's fantastic that he could have some success," said Anholt.

He said he's always believed that Cozens is a special player.

"He comes from a good family, he's a really down to earth kid, he takes things in stride, but he plays hard, he's got great hockey sense and, you know, he's got really good skills, " he said.

Cozens' family has been watching the games at home in Whitehorse through a live stream.

His mom, Sue Bogle, said it seemed almost unbelievable when he scored the crucial goal on Tuesday night.

"It was interesting because the second game of the series was in Medicine Hat and they were down 4-3 and Dylan got the tying goal in that game," she said. "I was just laughing, saying 'wouldn't it be funny if he got it again for this game?'

"And sure enough."

Cozens has benefited from the Hurricanes being down five players due to injuries, taking advantage of an increased role on the team.

However, Anholt said that after his performance so far in the playoffs — he has two goals and three assists in seven games — Cozens will remain on the roster for the remainder of the Hurricanes' run.

Cozens was drafted by the Hurricanes last year, but, according to WHL rules, was only allowed to play five regular season games as an underaged player at 15 years old. He turned 16 in February.

His young age and hot streak have earned him a nickname familiar to hockey fans: "The Kid."

'Just such a crazy game'

Cozens said Wednesday afternoon that he saw the puck in front of the net, froze for an instant, and then put it in the net.

"It was just such a crazy game, the emotions of everyone. Some guys fighting for their junior career didn't want it to be their last game, so like just the emotion of the game was crazy," he said.

Cozens, however, is just starting out his junior career.

"First year — so you want to make an impact right away. So far, I'm doing pretty good at that so I'll try to keep it up," he said.

He said he's now facing his biggest challenge yet, in the series against Regina.

It's the top ranked junior team in Canada and Cozens said the Hurricanes will have to play the best game they have in them, to win.

with files from Dave White


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