Former St. Cloud State, Lakeville star Ryan Poehling has one of the greatest debuts in NHL history

Ryan Poehling played at Lakeville North in high school and SCSU in college.
Publish date:

Ryan Poehling's college career didn't end the way he'd hope as St. Cloud State was upset in the NCAA Tournament, but his NHL career started Saturday night with one of the best debut performances in league history. 

Poehling scored a goal in the first, second and third periods, and then notched the game-winning goal in a shootout to give the Montreal Canadiens. 

"I just tried to go out there and play my game and do the right things. Sometimes, you just get rewarded for them and games go like that. It's a surreal moment for myself. It feels like a dream," said Poehling, via "I don't even know what to say. I'm just in shock right now."

The 20-year-old former Lakeville North state champion is just the third player since 2010 to record a hat trick in his first NHL game, joining Auston Matthews (2016) and Derek Stepan (2010). 

Where does Poehling's historic start rank among the best debuts in league history? It's debatable since plenty of goalies have started careers with shutouts, but he's just the fifth player ever to have a hat trick in his first game. 

  • Auston Matthews: 4 goals, Oct. 12, 2016
  • Alex Smart, Canadiens: 3 goals, Jan. 14, 1943
  • Real Cloutier, Nordiques: 3 goals, Oct. 10, 1979
  • Fabian Brunnstrom, Stars: Oct. 15, 2008

Alexander Ovechkin and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored a pair of goals in their NHL debuts, and The Great One Wayne Gretzy had just one assist in his first game. 

An incredible debut doesn't guarantee long-term success, but Poehling is certainly off to an amazing start. 

Next Up

prison, Rush City cell block

Former Army Green Beret and U of M student sentenced for Russian espionage

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sanó's 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.

Thomas Humphrey, charged in vaccine thefts.

Viral videos of vaccine thefts lead to charges for MN anti-vaxxer

Thomas Edward Humphrey is a 32-year-old St. Paul resident.

Kyle Imdieke of Osakis, Minnesota.

Community rallies around family of MN coach who died suddenly

Kyle Imdieke was a beloved educator at Osakis High School.

Hinckley crash

Fatal crash that closed north I-35 caused when SUV crossed median

The incident occurred Friday afternoon one mile south of Hinckley in eastern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-05-15 at 7.17.27 AM

Viral video: Customer argues with Menards worker over store mask policy

The incident happened in Buffalo on Thursday, hours after the CDC issued new guidance on face masks for vaccinated people.

Sylvia Fowles

Phoenix, Minnesota live up to the hype in WNBA opener

Diana Taurasi hit the game-winning shot with 1.1 seconds to play.

Josh Donaldson

Oakland smacks four home runs to extend Twins' horrific start

The A's handed the Twins a 6-1 loss on Friday night.


Spring Lake Park Hy-Vee to open by the end of May

A dozen Hy-Vee stores are now located in the Twin Cities metro area.

PXG Store Manager Derek Holmes Qualifies for the PGA Championship

Minnesota golf store manager qualifies for PGA Championship

No word if he'll have to burn some vacation days to play in the PGA Championship!


Kevin Fiala

Kevin Fiala's rise garners NHL's First Star of the Week award

Last week was great, just like the previous three weeks were for the 23-year-old.

'Bingo': NHL rookie Jake Guentzel of Hill-Murray is becoming a star

Just five years ago Jake Guentzel was a senior in high school. Now he's leading the NHL in playoff goals with 4.


Former NHL stars playing in charity game in Shakopee

The game will raise money for the Parkinson's Foundation Minnesota Chapter.

Tuch will make NHL debut on the Wild's top line

Tuch will skate with Eric Staal and Zach Parise tonight in Vancouver.

Jason and Carly Zucker

NHL honors Wild's Jason Zucker with humanitarian award

Jason and Carly Zucker have done big things at Masonic Children's Hospital.