Two weeks into the first season of the Continental Hockey League, the SHL’s minor league, Maine Moose LW Aaron Knorr has made history. In Friday’s 8-2 pounding of the Baltimore Blue Crabs, Knorr became the first player in SHL or CHL history to score four goals in a game. For Knorr, who had scored only three goals on the season prior to this game, it was a night to remember.
“This was the game of my life,” said Knorr. “I never scored four in a game before. Not in juniors, not even in pee wee. It seemed like I couldn’t miss.”
Knorr first got on the board a little more than eight minutes into the 1st period, with Baltimore ahead 1-0. Knorr got on an odd-man rush with teammates Richard McKinley and Jacob Cunniff. Cunniff deked a shot in the high slot, then flicked a pass to Knorr, who buried it just under the crossbar to tie the game up at one.
Knorr’s second tally came on a power play in the 2nd. D Kirby Hanlon fed Knorr in the left faceoff circle, and the winger blistered a slapshot just over Baltimore goalie Jean-Luc Menard’s catching glove to give the Moose a 2-1 lead.
Three and a half minutes later, Knorr banked home a rebound off Menard to complete the hat trick. Since few of the Baltimore fans were willing to toss their hats in on the ice to recognize Knorr’s feat, several of his teammates flung their helmets on the ice instead.
Then with just over three minutes remaining in the 2nd, Blue Crabs LW Alan Youngman went to the box for elbowing. On the ensuing power play, Knorr slipped one between Menard’s pads for goal #4. Disgruntled Blue Crabs fans responded to Knorr’s triumph with a hail of boos and a cascade of half-full beer cups.
“I think that’s the traditional celebration when you get four,” quipped Knorr. “When you get three, everyone throws their hats. When you get four, everyone throws their beer.”
Moose coach Barney Flintridge said that he was surprised but not shocked by Knorr’s achievement. “I mean, you wouldn’t expect to see four in a game. But if anyone could do it, it’s Aaron. He’s one of the best pure shooters in the entire league.
Knorr wasn’t the only Maine player to achieve a landmark accomplishment on Friday, however. Teammate Miroslav Novotny achieved what is known in hockey lore as a “Gordie Howe hat trick”: a goal (on a slapshot with four minutes left in the 2nd), an assist (feeding C Leo Rozmirovich five minutes into the 3rd), and a fight (dropping gloves with Baltimore D Woody Fairwood midway through the 3rd).
“Honestly, I think what Miroslav did is the bigger accomplishment,” said Knorr. “To get the Gordie Howe hat trick, you need to be strong in all parts of the game: you’ve got to be able to shoot, pass, and fight.”