After the Oklahoma City Barons clinched an American Hockey League playoff berth with Saturday's 2-0 win at Texas, coach Todd Nelson had a conversation with winger Colin McDonald.
“You've got the day off tomorrow,” said Nelson, who planned on giving his entire top line an off day on Sunday at Houston.
“Do I have a choice in the matter?” McDonald asked. “Because I don't know if I'll ever get this opportunity again.”
McDonald entered the final day of the regular season tied for the AHL goal-scoring title and couldn't pass up the chance at taking the award for himself.
“If I would've played and not got it, I would've been fine with that,” McDonald said. “But if I sat out and wound up tied, it would've bothered me.”
McDonald took it down to the wire, scoring with 2:32 remaining in Sunday's game to put him ahead of Hamilton's Nigel Dawes and in sole possession of the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL's top goal scorer.
The award had been won previously by Hershey's Alexandre Giroux, who now is a Barons linemate of McDonald's, in each of the last two seasons.
McDonald scored six goals in the final three games, including four in Friday's win at San Antonio. He become the second consecutive Barons player to win the AHL's Player of the Week award.