Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out - Port Coquitlam's Colton Kehler is in.
When it comes to the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, there is a new scoring champion, following the Chiefs' 7-4 victory over the Fraser Valley Hawks on Sunday.
Kehler's tally late in the second period would stand up as the game winner; it was also the five-foot-nine sniper's 41st of the season, surpassing the current Edmonton Oilers young star's 40 goals, set in 2008-09 over 36 games.
It was also Kehler's 36th game of the season. "It was pretty special," said Kehler, 15. "I didn't even know I had scored until I saw my teammate grab the puck."
It was part of a five-goal outburst for the Chiefs, who erased a 3-2 deficit en route to sweeping the Hawks and improving to 22-10-4 on the season.
The first-year major midget star credits line-mates Mathew Barzal and Tim Chow for much of his success this year. Barzal leads the league in scoring with 97 points over 32 games, but missed Sunday's game due to an injury.
"They see the ice so well, if you get in a good spot they'll find you," said Kehler.
For Chiefs coach Doneau Menard, Kehler's play this year has been one of the reasons behind the team's strong push for a top-three spot.
"He came out of the gate flying," said Menard. "Colton's got a knack for scoring, a shoot-first guy who can also distribute the puck."
For Kehler, a seventh round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in last year's Western Hockey League bantam draft, getting mentioned with Nugent-Hopkins is kind of neat.
"It's pretty special to have my name mentioned up there with (Nugent-Hopkins)," he said.