ALLENTOWN – Well, it didn’t take long for Tyson Foerster to show he’s one hundred percent healthy again.
The Flyers’ first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft spent most of last season sidelined by shoulder surgery.
But if there were any doubts about his full recovery, they were pretty much removed on Friday night when the talented winger buried a shot 39 seconds into overtime to lead the Flyers’ rookies to a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers’ rookies in the first of a two-game preseason series at PPL Center.
Playing on a line with the Cates brothers, Noah and Jackson, was an offensive force for much of this game and he topped it off with the game-winner.
“My line played great, we had lots of chances,’’ Foerster said after the game. “We just couldn’t find a way to score. But we came out with the win and that’s all that matters.’’
The Cates brothers make Foerster’s job as a sniper a lot easier.
“They’re workhorses,’’ he said with a grin. “They’re both of the same mind. They’re great players, I love playing with them.’’
Another good sign for the Flyers: Foerster was able to absorb some hits and give out some, too. That’s another indicator he’s back to full strength.
“Getting hits kind of early is the key,’’ he said. “Gets you into the game a bit.’’
Holding the Ranger freshmen to just 19 shots (only four in the third period) was also a plus for the entire Flyers’ lineup.
Head coach Ian Laperriere has been stressing the need to work on both sides of the puck.
“That’s what ‘Lappy’ said, all we can control is our work ethic,’’ Foerster said. “We worked hard tonight. It was great.’’
Added Laperriere concerning Foerster’s overall physical play: “He scored in overtime which is great but he worked hard, he was physical, he was involved. I really believe it’s because he’s becoming a man. That time he missed last year gave him time to be healthy. The skies the limit for that kid.’’
And Laperriere sounded please with the overall effort.
“I was pretty happy with everybody,’’ he said. “Only two practices plus the morning skate this morning. They did work hard. That was my message. I can live with mistakes but as long as you work hard everybody is going to be happy.
“I talked to management after the game, they were happy with the effort. The Cates brothers looked great with Tyson on that line. They looked really good and you can go right down the list.’’
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Matthew Robertson at 5:33 of the second period but the Flyers evened the score via a shot from Ollie Lycksell at 13:30 of that frame.
Then Foerster ended the show.
The two teams conclude the series on Saturday, 5:05 p.m. at PPL Center.
If the Flyers have room for Foerster, do the coaches think he’s ready?
“Growing up, his main job was scoring goals and that’s why he was drafted,’’ Laperriere said. “If scoring goals is the only thing you do, you better do it every night. Even the guy in Washington (Alex Ovechkin) is physical. Hopefully he (Foerster) does make the big team.’’