- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The first thing Matt Fraser wanted to do was call his parents.
The 23-year-old forward had just scored at 1:19 of overtime to help the Boston Bruins to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series Thursday night at Bell Centre in Montreal, and he couldn't wait to call his dad, Maurey.
"Hopefully my dad was impressed with this one," Fraser said after the game.
His parents were thrilled by their son's accomplishment.
"I was so excited for him and for the team," Maurey Fraser told ESPNBoston.com in a phone interview from his home in Red Deer, Alberta. "Obviously, it's a team game and to see the Bruins win and him get the overtime goal, and be successful, it was exciting. He played a strong game all night with his linemates. It was very nice to watch, quite exciting, very exciting."
As far as being impressed, Maurey Fraser said: "That was kind of a neat quote. I hope he didn't make me out as the grumpy old man, but I got a kick out of that, as well."
Matt Fraser became an instant sensation in Boston with his timely goal. Called up from the Providence Bruins of the AHL on Wednesday, he was thrust into the lineup Thursday for his first NHL playoff game.
After he scored the winner, Fraser stood in the lower concourse outside the Bruins' locker room and was surrounded by a media horde. His voice was cracking and his hands were shaking in a genuinely emotional moment.
His family felt the same way while watching his goal and ensuing celebration on television from their home in Western Canada.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for Matt," his father said. "For Boston to give him that opportunity, he just worked so hard and he's a dedicated individual and he puts the team first in all situations and for him to be given the opportunity to come up and play in that atmosphere of Montreal, in the Bell Centre with the storied rivalry between Montreal and Boston for all these years, the emotions involved in the rink, it is something to behold and I understand his emotions and how excited he was for everything. I was feeling that, every bit, at this end as well."
Maurey Fraser was watching Game 4 by himself, while his wife, Sharon, locked herself in the family's garage and listened to the game on the radio.
"She has a little superstition where she thinks things might go a little bit better for Matt and the hockey team if she's not watching it," Maurey Fraser said. "It's a superstition she has on her part, but she came bouncing in right after he scored the goal and saw all the celebrations on television."
It's a superstition she's had for quite a while, Fraser said.
"We've got two kids, Matt and his sister, Kelsey, and for important games where there's a lot riding on it, as an example [Thursday] night with NHL playoffs, [Sharon is] just up and down and moving around all the time, so it's a whole lot easier if she's in another building outside the house somewhere. She's done it for many, many years."
Even though it was last-minute, the Frasers looked into going to Montreal for Game 4, but it was unknown at the time whether Matt would actually be in the lineup.
"It would have been a long way to go to Montreal, sit in the stands and watch the game if he's in the press box, and then the [team] flight leaving Montreal an hour [after the game], I wouldn't even get a chance to see him," Maurey Fraser said. "I understand that it was coach's decision at game time, so it didn't make any sense to do that not knowing if he was going to be in or out."
Fraser's heroics have gained the attention of the entire hockey world. With Game 5 between the Bruins and Canadiens on Saturday night at TD Garden, the "Hockey Night in Canada" crew visited the Fraser family Friday night.
After Game 4, Matt Fraser spoke about playing in a friend's backyard rink as a boy and imaging what it would be like to score a goal in the Stanley Cup. His father explained that all of Matt's friends, both boys and girls, would play on the outdoor rinks, and when Matt would return from his junior team for Christmas break, all the friends would lace up their skates.
"He exactly did what he said he did, all the time pretending that he did what he did [Thursday] night," Maurey Fraser said.
Before his overtime goal against the Canadiens, Fraser was known as one of the prospects the Bruins acquired from the Dallas Stars last summer. On July 4, 2013, Boston sent forwards Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley along with prospect Ryan Button to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Fraser and Joe Morrow.
Fraser was undrafted before the Dallas signed him as a free agent on Nov. 18, 2010. He spent the majority of his time in the organization with its AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, and played a total of 13 games for Dallas in the NHL.
"Dallas gave Matt an opportunity and that's something we'll always be thankful for, but being professional sports you're with somebody one day and you're gone the next for whatever reason," Maurey Fraser said. "It can be business reasons, playing reasons, salary cap and all that sort of stuff.
"I think Matt was happy when he was dealt to Boston. It's a cliché, but it's an Original Six team and everybody likes that who has grown up in the hockey world. The people of Boston, and the team there, the Providence team, he has nothing but respect for all of those folks involved there. They're treated like genuine pros there in Boston, from the trainers, to the coaching staff, to the media and most importantly the fans are very important.
"Boston is a tough lineup to crack and he might've had more opportunity to play in the NHL with the Dallas organization versus the Boston organization, but that's hindsight now. There's no hard feelings what Dallas did. It was a business move and you just move forward and hopefully Boston gives him an opportunity and he can play there as a full-time NHLer soon."
Matt Fraser was emotional after Game 4.
"Words can't even describe how I feel," he said. "I just watched the replay of it and I don't even want to begin to try to explain it because that's something I wish every kid could feel."
When his dad heard it, he was proud of his son.
"Isn't that a great line? I love that he said that," Maurey Fraser said. "And he means it, too. He really does when he says something like that. He thinks about it and it was very nice."
9dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur
45dKyle Brasseur, Special to ESPNBoston.com