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Bruins, Make-A-Wish team up for young fan

03.26.14 at 1:57 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins didn’t need to make a call-up to have a third goalie on the ice for Wednesday’s practice.

Nine-year-old Maddie Santosuosso of Topsfield took the ice with the B’s, donning her own No. 40 sweater and brand new goalie pads as she practiced with the Bruins thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Santosuosso, who is battling cancer, stayed with Tuukka Rask as she took part in the end of the team’s practice. She and Rask faced shots on one end of the ice for roughly 15-20 minutes, with Santuosso getting cheers as she made saves on various Bruins.

“It was great. I met her I think a week ago or something. We went to Norwood, [MonkeySports] hockey store and picked her up some gear,” Rask said after the practice. “I was pretty impressed — that was her first time wearing that, and she was skating around and stopping pucks, so I was pretty impressed.”

If Rask’s job was to get similar equipment to his, he did a good job. Santosuosso sported white pads like Rask’s, with a two stripes — one black, one gold, at the knee.

The one way you could tell them apart — aside from the size — was the mask. Predictably, masks like Rask’s custom-painted one aren’t readily available, so Santosuosso wore a red mask.

“She’s got the Canadien colors,” Rask said with a grin. “We’ll let that slide.”

Rask wears his emotions on his sleeve, as has been obvious in his moments of both elation and frustration. Wednesday was a case of the former, as his day was clearly made by his new friend’s presence.

It wasn’t just Rask who was happy to have Maddie around. As was seen with the Bruins’ relationship with Sam Berns, Bruins players don’t shy away from such moments.

“The guys didn’t even let me finish talking there when they saw her coming on, and they started tapping their sticks,” Claude Julien said. “It goes to show you that those little things that we do are really important to those people and important to us.

“Our guys just enjoy it. They could have gone off the ice. They could have done whatever they wanted. The practice was over. The guys stayed to [take] those extra shots and spend time with her.”

Read More: Tuukka Rask,
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