It took a tired but smiling Brodie Dupont longer than it should have to take off his equipment after beating the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2 Sunday night.
But he didn’t care.
After ending the Calgary Hitmen’s dreadful start to the month of March and scoring his 29th and 30th goals of the season, Dupont was in high demand among media searching out an interview with the Russell, Manitoba native.
“It’s a good day for the media to be talking to me today,” said the New York Rangers second rounder with a chuckle.
Not only did his Hitmen win, but Dupont recorded his 30th goal of the season, an accomplishment he optimistically predicted at the start of the year.
“After I talk to the coaches, I always write down my goals,” said Dupont, who had just 14 goals and 25 points last season with Calgary.
“After talking to them at the start of the year, I put down 30 goals and 20 assists.”
Ironic, because Dupont has exactly 30 goals to go along with 23 assists. There are two regular season games remaining for the Hitmen before heading into the playoffs, a spot they clinched in February.
Dupont, nicknamed Moose after one-time New York Ranger and longtime Philadelphia Flyer Andre ‘Moose’ Dupont, admits the goals he set at the beginning of the year may have been lofty.
“I didn’t know if I could reach them or not but I set them pretty high. It was nice to finally hit my goal and then hopefully I can surpass them here a bit.”
An excited Dupont reached the 30-goal plateau in the second period, burying a puck behind Calgary Flames prospect Matt Keetley. He was quick to tell teammate Karl Alzner, a 2007 NHL Entry Draft eligible blueliner who created the play, to get the puck.
“He yelled at me to grab (the puck) for him so I had to make sure their player didn’t shoot the puck down the ice,” joked Alzner after the game.
Dupont credits the accomplishment to a coaching staff that includes former New York Ranger Kelly Kisio and longtime NHL journeyman Dave Lowry. It was the Hitmen’s coaching staff that harped on Dupont to set and re-enforce the achieved goals.
“If you ask Dave (Lowry) I would look at him like he’s crazy,” said Dupont, who currently sits 17th overall in the league in goals scored.
“They just kept telling me I could get it and then I started believing that I could do it. I was just slowly chipping away and getting some greasy goals, missed a few empty netters here and there, but tonight I got a couple of breaks and managed to hit 30 goals.”
At the onset of the season, it appeared as though Dupont may not reach his marks. Despite recording four points in the first three games of the season, he struggled. A perennial slow starter, Dupont had just six goals and nine points through the first 28 games of the season.
Needless to say, he caught fire.
With six goals in nine games in the month of December, Dupont stepped up in the absence of then leading scorer and Edmonton Oilers draft selection Freddie Pettersson, who was representing his native Sweden in the 2006 World Junior Championships in Vancouver.
As an encore, Dupont added another 12 goals in the first two months of 2006.
His March, however, has been even more impressive. With six goals in six games, including a four-game goal streak, Dupont has stepped up the offense when an anemic Hitmen squad needed it the most.
And with the playoffs right around the corner, the 6’2, 195lb winger is red hot at the right time. Certainly to draw attention to himself throughout the playoffs given his scoring nature, Dupont will draw the necessary attention of a team’s biggest offensive weapon.
Dupont wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s when guys start cross-checking me and trying to get me off my game when I start getting into the game,” admitted Dupont. “I love it when guys come after me, and if they want to come and try to shut me down, that’s their strategy and I’m going to work through it and hopefully punch in a few goals.”
The hulking forward admitted that it throws him off his game when they don’t engage him physically.
“When teams just ignore me and don’t touch me it gets me off my game,” offered Dupont. “You can ask anyone on the team, when I get mad, that’s when I start playing better.”
It will be a tricky situation for the Hitmen’s first round opponents, yet to be decided.
Certainly, though, if the opposition hopes to upset the league’s top team in Calgary in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs, they’ll need to shut down the league’s hottest goal scorer.
Dupont will be waiting to watch them try.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.