Zach Sanford scored his first NHL playoff goal to help assure that the St. Louis Blues would raise the Stanley Cup for the first time in the organization’s 52-year history.

Lifting a shot to the short side with 4:38 to go Wednesday, the Waterloo Black Hawks alumnus boosted the Blues to a 4-0 lead and toward a 4-1 Game Seven win against the Boston Bruins. It was the 24-year-old’s fourth point in five appearances during the series. (see video below)

Over the Blues’ 19 games in the Western Conference playoffs, Sanford had had taken the ice three times, all during an opening round series versus the Winnipeg Jets. Inserted back into the lineup for Game Three versus Boston, he recorded his first playoff point on a beautiful pass from behind the Bruins net; it was a rare bright spot in a game the Blues lost 7-2. Sanford dressed for all of the games which followed – and contributed assists in each of the next two – as the Blues swung to a series lead, thanks to 4-2 and 2-1 victories.

“The importance of staying ready is huge,” Blues Coach Craig Berube told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Game Five. “And that’s on [Sanford] working hard, and our guys — our strength coaches and our coaching staff — keeping guys ready, working them. He’s jumped in there and he’s doing great. He looks strong, fresh, skating well. It’s good on him and good on our staff.”

The 2018/19 campaign came after Sanford did not play at the NHL level at all in 2017/18 due to injury. He recovered to play in 60 regular season games.

Credit - Britta Lewis
Credit - Britta Lewis

In Waterloo during the 2013/14 season, Sanford had helped the Black Hawks to the Anderson Cup with 17 goals and 18 assists over 52 regular season appearances. It was his only United States Hockey League season. In the Clark Cup playoffs which followed, Sanford had another 12 points in 12 games as Waterloo reached the championship series. - (Sanford skating with the Black Hawks)

From the Black Hawks, the New England native moved on to Boston College, spending two seasons with the Eagles before signing an NHL contract following the 2015/16 season. Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals, he debuted with that organization, but was quickly traded to St. Louis in his rookie year.

Here's a great post game interview with KSDK-TV talking about beating his hometown team and losing his father during training camp.

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