Long Beach native Charlie McAvoy had quite the homecoming this week.
On Monday afternoon, the 21-year-old NHL defenseman made an unannounced visit to Long Beach High School to surprise his sisters, Heather and Holly, during lacrosse practice, and enjoyed dinner with his family later that evening. Then, on Tuesday night, he helped the Boston Bruins defeat the Islanders, 5-0, in his first professional game at Nassau Coliseum.
McAvoy logged more than 22 and a half minutes of ice time — he’s the team leader in the category — and assisted on Sean Kuraly’s goal just 1:12 into the game to set the tone for the visitors.
“It was awesome and surreal to play in this building,” said McAvoy, who attended countless games at the Coliseum as a young hockey fan. “We played a great game from start to finish, so I’m really happy with the result and happy to be back home,” he added.
McAvoy’s sixth point in the last seven games came on his first NHL shift on Coliseum ice. “I just tried to make a smart read,” he said. “It was a great play by Kurls to hold onto the pass and make a shot like that.”
Noel Accari and Kuraly added second-period goals, and Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk scored in the third as the Bruins won their seventh straight over the Islanders.
On the season, McAvoy has six goals, including back-to-back game-winners during a California road trip in February, and 19 assists. He said he had felt great since returning from a concussion that sidelined him from mid-October through the first week of December.
Selected 14th overall in the 2016 draft and a standout member of the U.S.’s gold medal-winning team at the 2017 World Junior Championships, McAvoy said that family members and friends filled about 30 seats for what was Boston’s eighth consecutive road victory over the Isles dating back to 2013.
“I used to come to games here all the time,” he said. “I wasn’t an Islanders fan, but it was fun to see my favorite players from other teams.”