How Nick Beam scored one of hockey’s most unconventional goals
February 3, 2023
Over the past few years, a new trick shot has taken over hockey. Known by multiple names such as ‘The Michigan,’ ‘Lacrosse goal,’ or even ‘The Zegras,’ this unconventional scoring attempt has left nightmares in the heads of goalies. The goal itself is when a skater stands behind the net, scoops the puck onto his stick and attempts to tuck the puck into the top corner of the net.
The first known successful attempt occurred on March 24, 1996. In an NCAA tournament game between Minnesota and Michigan, Michigan winger Mike Legg picked up the puck and wrapped it into the top corner to tie the game at two. This is where the attempt earned its nickname of “The Michigan.”
Nearly 23 years after Leggs’ successful attempt, the move was finally pulled off in the NHL. On October 29, 2019, Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes scooped and scored against the Calgary Flames.
The goal reaching the league caused a shockwave throughout the hockey community. The goal was sporadically attempted and scored throughout the league by star players such as Filip Forsberg, Andrei Svechnikov (again), and most notably rookie Trevor Zegras. In late 2021, Zegras teamed up with fellow Anaheim Duck Sonny Milano to create a new version of the goal. Zegras picked the puck up behind the net and alley-ooped it Milano in front of the net who batted it in out of the air.
Zegras continued his wizardry with the puck throughout the year, scoring two more goals using the original style. This resulted in the goal being referred to by some as ‘The Zegras.’
The move continued to spread, now being attempted by youth/junior hockey players throughout the country. This is where the move reached our own team, here at St. X.
Knowing how impossible the move appears to be, players spent time on and off the ice attempting to master it for use in game. This is where Sophomore Nick Beam learned the move he’s now pulled off twice in game.
“I think the move is so special because of how different it is. It is also so rare that when it happens it is a very special moment.” Beam said. “Watching Trevor Zegras do the move in the NHL really made me interested in learning the move and encouraged me to practice it in my backyard and eventually on the ice.”
Earlier this year when the Tigers traveled to Nashville, they were given the opportunity to play on the ice at Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Beam took full advantage of this opportunity, pulling off ‘The Michigan’ in the third period to put the Tigers up 9-1 against the Mason Comets.
“Pulling it off in Nashville was awesome because it was my first time ever actually pulling it off in a game and it just so happened to be on the NHL ice which was really special,” Beam added.
Beam’s Michigan fever didn’t end here. A few weeks later when the Tigers traveled to Charleston, WV, Beam pulled it off again. In the second period of the first game, Beam got the Tigers within two pulling off the move. This highlight provided a bright spot for the team in a rough weekend for the Tigers.
The highlight circulated social media, reaching the view of future NHL draft pick and current winger of the WHL’s Regina Pats Braxton Whitehead. Whitehead reposted the video on his instagram story where it was viewed by his 2,300+ followers, including projected first overall pick Conor Bedard.
“Braxton posting my goal on his story was cool because he plays in the WHL on the Regina Pats, which is very high level,” Beam said. “Connor Bedard who is the projected first overall pick in the NHL draft is on his team and knowing he could have seen the goal is really cool.”
It’s been over 26 years since the first lacrosse style goal was scored in competitive hockey. Now in a modern age where style during play is encouraged, ‘The Michigan’ has taken over the game. One search of hockey on any social media platform will result in coming across someone attempting the goal. As young stars come into the league bringing style and flair into the game, this trick shot serves as a way to show the game has changed.