The Washington Capitals played their final road game of the preseason on Wednesday. And one fan left TD Garden with a very special souvenir.
During a Capitals’ first-period powerplay, John Carlson slid a pinpoint pass into Alex Ovechkin’s wheelhouse for a one-timer from the left circle. Everything was perfect on the play except for the sturdiness of the equipment. The force from Ovechkin’s windup and follow-through broke his CCM stick in half. The bottom half of the twig flew into the stands.
Despite the lower bowl being full of nearly all Bruins fans, a Capitals fan wearing a navy blue John Carlson third jersey caught the stick. It was almost like it was fate.
Alex Ovechkin's stick explodes and goes for a ride… nice one-handed grab by that Caps fan. pic.twitter.com/mQrslZrw9e
— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) October 6, 2021
The stick was nabbed by Jared Kessel (no relation), who was born and raised in Boston.
“It was crazy,” Jared said in an interview with RMNB. “I was watching Ovi in his office right in front of me and I saw the stick shatter. I looked up and I knew that was coming down on me. So I had to catch that! I would have dove into the seats if I had to. The crowd erupted and everyone including myself couldn’t believe it happened.”
Kessel attended the game with his good friend Max Howe (no relation). And he’s part Ruskie.
“I’m a fan of all Boston sports teams except the B’s,” Jared said. “I’m half Russian, so obviously my favorite player is Ovi. I’m a diehard Capitals fan as well and have been rooting for them through the ups and downs over the years. I love everybody on the team. It’s funny, I’ve been going to Fenway for 22 years and have never caught a foul ball, but I show up to TD Garden last night, and a stick from one of the greatest players of all time basically lands right on top of me. It’s crazy!”
Jared has been to every Capitals-Bruins game in Boston with Howe for at least the past five years. The two circled this matchup on the preseason schedule as soon as it was announced.
“The last one we went to was the crazy, heart-breaking Game Three in last year’s playoffs where Ilya Samsonov turned the puck over to Craig Smith for the OT game-winner.”
The Capitals honored Jared by posting video of his highlight-reel catch on their Instagram. “A+ snag,” they wrote.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Jared said of all the attention.
Jared will be at the Capitals and Bruins’ first meeting of the regular season on January 20.
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