This past weekend may have been a turning point for Kings prospect Alex Turcotte. After moving over from center to left wing, he picked up his first AHL goal and helped the Ontario Reign pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Alex Turcotte scores his 1st pro goal! 2-0
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) March 14, 2021
For good measure, he later recorded an assist on Sean Durzi’s first goal of the season:
Sean Durzi makes it 3-0 with his 1st goal of the season!
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) March 14, 2021
Immediately following Saturday’s victory, Wroblewski spoke about some of what Turcotte has experienced thus far in his time with the Reign:
“It’s great that you have the World Juniors [experience], but then you miss a few weeks and your timing goes off. You’re not in tune with the way that we’re trying to play with the details and practices. Those are not small issues. Those are massive things for a group that we have, with the youth that we have up front. We really can’t have any errors. Those guys need to get the heavy lifting and they have to have their details down. It’s not surprising that [Turcotte] wasn’t rewarded on the score sheet, but his analytics and the way that he drives play are off the charts. We can always bank on that, and true to form, the result will come at the right time.”
In advance of the Reign returning to action later tonight in Tucson, let’s check in with the 20-year-old forward and get some of his thoughts…
Turcotte on scoring his first AHL goal
Felt like it was taking forever to get it. It was nice to get it out of the way. [Rasmus Kupari] got the puck up off the half-wall, rolled high, and used his speed and skill. I just got lost on the outside, cut to the middle, and they didn’t see me. [Kupari] made a great pass to me, I was lucky enough to pick a corner and put it in.
On if the wait it took to score his first goal was bothering him
Yeah. Part of my job is to produce, and when you’re not getting on the scoresheet it’s hard. I’ve been playing the right way, trying to work hard every day, and stick with it, thinking positively. I got rewarded. Hopefully, I can keep ‘er going.
On moving to left wing for both games this past weekend
Coach Wrobo told me he was gonna put me with [Kupari] and pretty much left it at that. I don’t mind playing anything. I try to be as versatile as I can. If they want me to play D, I would. [ed. note – Akil Thomas might not let him play defense, at least not first] I hadn’t played wing in a long time, so there’s an adjustment getting used to the D pinching down on you all the time. You don’t have as much time as you do up the middle, or as much speed, as well. Trying to get used to that, the two games were very beneficial. Hopefully, I can keep improving on that.
On what back-to-back wins does for the confidence of the team
Winning is what we’re here to do. To get two wins in a row feels really good, especially with how it was going previously. We’re really believing in each other, we’re playing for one another, and now it’s just starting to click. We’re really bonding as a team, getting tight. That’s really important. We’re playing for one another and we’re starting to see some results here, but we’re not done yet. We have to keep going and keep getting these wins.
On if there was something specific the team needed to adjust to or if it was just a matter of time before they started winning
There were some moments where we weren’t at our best. It’s pretty tough, we have a lot of really young players on our team. A lot of us are first-year pros, but we’re 15 or 16 games in now, there are no more excuses. We have to start producing and getting results. We’ve learned a lot. There was a little bit of an adjustment period, but there are no excuses anymore. We have to get these wins and keep it going.
On the adjustments to being a pro player coming out of the World Junior experience
There’s definitely an adjustment to the pro game. World Juniors is a very skilled game, very playmaking-oriented. A lot of the best skilled players at that age group. When you come into the pro game, it’s a lot tougher. Everyone is skilled, but guys are all different types of ages. It’s really physical. I would say it’s just as fast as World Juniors, but you have that physical element. Guys are playing for jobs. This is their livelihood. I think that’s something that I’ve really started to realize. Day-to-day, it’s a grind. You just have to keep working hard and trying to get better because it isn’t easy.
On his relationship with coach Wroblewski through the years
I had him in juniors and he’s always been a great person to me. He’s always instilled a lot of confidence inside me, teaching me to play the right way and to hold me accountable when he needs to. We have a really great relationship. He’s just trying to make us all better players, as well. His job is to get wins, but he’s trying to develop us as players, as well. To have him here is awesome and definitely makes it a little bit more comfortable.
On what Wroblewski is like with the group
It’s his first year involved in this situation, just like us. He’s just been reading and reacting. He knows when to push guys’ buttons and then when to layoff. We’re all feeling it out, he’s feeling it out. He definitely wants the best out of us. You’re definitely going to get criticism sometimes, bit I think that’s how it should be. He’ll also let you know when you’re doing things well. It’s nice to have that reassurance.
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Lead photo courtesy of Ontario Reign