Alex Ovechkin’s reaction to Ivan Mirosnichenko’s first NHL goal was absolutely incredible

Here’s one of the greatest stories you’ll hear in the NHL this year. The 2023-24 season is Ivan Miroshnichenko’s first in North America.

He was drafted in the first round of the 2022 draft but missed parts of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons due to a cancer diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

When Miroshnichenko went through treatment, he received a phone call from none other than Mario Lemieux, who went through the same health problems during his career. Lemieux’s message was clear when they talked: ”You’re going to recover.”

And Super Mario was right.

On Thursday, Miroshnichenko’s big dream came true, as the 20-year-old Russian scored his first-ever NHL goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

The goal was Miroshnichenko’s first point in the league as well, and it came off a pass from Dylan Strome that bounced off goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s stick.

Miroshnichenko evaded the poke check and slid the puck past the goalie’s left pad. Miroshnichenko was all smiles after the goal, and you could tell how much it meant for him.

PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 07: Washington Capitals left wing Ivan Miroshnichenko (63) looks on during the first period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals on March 7, 2024, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

He pumped his fist and just couldn’t stop smiling as he celebrated with his teammates on the ice. And when he returned to the bench, he was mobbed by his big idol, Alex Ovechkin.

The wholesome moment was captured on the broadcast as Ovechkin hugged his young teammate before patting him on top of his helmet.

On social media, fans absolutely loved the special moment between a young kid who had just scored his first NHL goal and his big hero.

”Oh my god, that’s gotta be a fever dream moment for a kid from rural Russia. Face rubs from the greatest goal scorer of all time, your countryman and childhood idol,” one said on X, formerly Twitter.

”That’s a captain,” another said.

”So good, so genuine,” a third said.

Thank you for subscribing!
Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Sign up to our newsletter, ‘The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told’