The opening months of the National Hockey League season were full of ups and downs for the Arizona Coyotes as they looked to keep up in a tight Pacific Division race.
There is still more rebuilding to do for head coach Rick Tocchet’s team with a youngster like former Boston University standout Clayton Keller leading the offense, but Scituate, Mass., native Conor Garland has enjoyed being a part of the ride for every second as a rookie at the sport’s highest level.
Garland’s first month as a Coyote was full of highlights as he made the challenging adjustment to the NHL. He debuted Dec. 8 against San Jose, made his first road appearance in Boston three nights later, helped the Coyotes earn a win at Madison Square Garden, and overcame a slow start offensively to find the back of the net just before Christmas.
“I just have to play my game,” said Garland, who recorded eight goals, 19 points (to lead the team at the time) and a plus-11 rating in 18 games with the American Hockey League’s Tucson Roadrunners before being called up to the NHL for the first time.