Who says Canadian college hockey doesn't lead to the NHL?
University of Toronto goalies Brett Willows and Michael Nishi got a taste of the big leagues this week when they were summoned by the Maple Leafs to serve as emergency backups.
Willows got a call to get to the Air Canada Centre immediately on Thursday night after James Reimer was forced to leave 32 seconds into the Maple Leaf's game against Carolina. Jonathan Bernier took over in goal, with Willows waiting backstage after getting to the rink and suiting up.
A nervous Nishi seemed in awe Friday after taking part in a Maple Leafs practice that saw a healthy Reimer and Bernier both take part.
''It felt great out there,'' said the 19-year-old Nishi, his lip trembling as he was surrounded by reporters in the Leafs dressing room at the club's practice facility. ''It was a very great experience. I'm happy to be here, I'm honored.''
Nishi skipped an English study session to face shots from the likes of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lu...