There were a few memorable games at UBS Arena for the New York Islanders in 2021-22. But one of the more memorable games came on New Year’s Day against the Edmonton Oilers, the team the New York Islanders will battle Wednesday night.
In that contest, on Jan. 1., New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson scored the overtime winner to give New York a 3-2 win. It was the first overtime winner of his NHL career.
On the ice for the win were Matthew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. As Barzal rushed up the ice, he peeled back halfway through the neutral zone before he fed Noah Dobson cutting towards the Oilers’ blue line.
Then it was all Dobson, who ripped a wrist shot through a Darnell Nurse screen, past the blocker of netminder Mikko Koskinen sending the UBS Arena crowd into an absolute frenzy.
WICKED WRISTER, WICKED ENDING.
Noah Dobson beats Koskinen to score a @SUBWAYCanada Overtime Winner for the @NYIslanders! pic.twitter.com/hpzmessy7h
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 1, 2022
“Yeah, it was obviously a cool moment,” Noah Dobson told NYI Hockey Now. “I think it was New Year’s Day (it was). There was a lot of energy in the building, an afternoon game, place was packed, and it was a cool moment to score a big goal against a good team.”
As for the goal itself, Dobson remembers it vividly.
“I remember just having so much time, more than I thought,” Dobson said. “So I just tried to take the ice, and once I entered the zone, I just tried to find a shot, and it found its way in, fortunately.”
“It was a good play by Barzal.”
At the time of this goal, Dobson had just finished off a tremendous month of December, with four goals and four assists in 10 games. He was seeing more minutes per game in the absence of Ryan Pulock and was certainly taken advantage of his opportunities. And over that month of domination, we saw just how good Dobson could be and how high his ceiling was as an NHL defenseman.
“Just a lot of confidence,” Dobson said regarding his breakout. “We had a lot of injuries and stuff going on that you had to elevate your role and play more minutes, and with that, I felt just more comfortable, more confident, and just kind of built off that each game.”
Dobson went on to lead the New York Islanders in shots on goal with 190 shots, ending his season with 13 goals and 38 assists, both career highs, which led to a career-high in points (51).
Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier both spoke on Dobson’s big goal.
“Yeah, just made the pass to him, and he just walked down and shot and just kind of like his coming out party,” Mat Barzal told NYI Hockey Now.
As for what Barzal saw from Dobson last year that allowed for him to burst on the scene: “Just confidence, just putting pucks on net. He’s got a good shot, so that’s been a key for him, getting pucks on net. Anytime he’s shooting the puck, that’s a good thing.”
Beauvillier, fresh off an overtime winner of his own, remembers Dobson’s raw emotion.
“I remember the smile on his face,” Beauvillier said. “It was definitely an emotional game against Edmonton last year. It was just fun to see him score that overtime winner.”
Fourth-line winger Matt Martin may not have been on the ice for the winner, but it’s a goal that he remembers very well.
“I do remember it because there’s a picture of him celebrating his goal with my daughter right behind the glass,” Matt Martin said. “So it’s pretty cool, actually. I got to get that signed by him at some point.”
Martin had glowing things to say about Dobson’s game, what he saw from him a year ago and what he continues to see from the 22-year-old.
“When you start scoring big goals, you start having a huge impact on the game every night. You just keep stepping, stepping up the ladder, and becoming better and better. He’s a franchise defenseman. In junior, he was a great player. He really blossomed last season and continues to blossom now. He’s going to continue to grow, continue to get better, and I think he’s going to be one of the best defensemen in the game at some point.”
New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert, who was actually the head coach for that game as Barry Trotz had taken a leave of absence, weighed in on Noah Dobson’s offensive outburst last year and why he was able to have success:
“He grew more and more confident as the season went on. And for him, when he’s moving his feet and breaking pucks out and making passes, I think he becomes way more effective.”