A funny thing happened in an OHL game between the Erie Otters and the Niagara Ice Dogs yesterday: the Otters ran out of goalies (after only dressing one), and had to put a forward in net. That lucky player was 17-year old center Connor Crisp, who promptly gave up 13 goals en route to a 13-4 loss.

The night before the game the Otters back-up goaltender failed a concussion test, and was ruled out for Sunday’s game. That left the Otters with just one goaltenders for the day, so obviously they needed to find a back-up.

I’ll let the Otters GM Sherry Bassin explain what happened:

“Late last night, our backup goaltender (Devin Williams) failed a concussion test. I looked at our alternatives; one of our goaltenders (Adam Wood) was playing in the Ontario Junior C Championships, the other (Corey Foster) in the Midget Ontario Championships,” said Bassin in a statement. “I studied our alternatives based on the 2,000 or so games I’ve been involved in. This turned out to be a bad decision. I accept full responsibility and apologize publicly for the embarrassment to the league and the sport of hockey that I love. I have deep respect for our league and sport.”

This turned out to be a bad decision.” I love that line. “In retrospect, cyanide was a poor choice of seasoning in tonight’s meal.”

Still, I’ma need Mr. Bassin to lighten up a little here. This is hilarious.

1:45 into the game Otters’ starter Ramis Sadikov was plowed into by Niagara forward Alex Friesen (who was handed a major penalty and ejected), and had to exit the game. That led to this exchange between Crisp and his team’s assistant GM (quotes originally given to Buzzing the Net):

“I was just hanging out in the stands and I saw Rammer [Sadikov] got run and I got a call from [Otters assistant general manager] Dave Brown saying, ‘Are you ready?’ ” Crisp said. “I was like, ‘Seriously?’ And he says, ‘Oh no, I think he’ll be fine.” And the next thing I know he’s being helped off the ice.’

Crisp bolted down to the dressing room where two people helped him put the goalie gear on – he had no idea how to strap everything up, being that the only goal he’s ever played was road hockey, and those straps are a touch easier to figure out. He had to wedge his feet into goalie skates three sizes too small, which also didn’t help his performance.

But, he did make some saves – 32, in all (how do you give up 45 shots when you have a forward in net? That’s just brutal). Erie is already in last place, so stopping the Ice Dogs high flying offense wasn’t going to be an easy chore to begin with. Islanders prospect Ryan Strome cashed in on the situation and piled up FIVE goals and an assist to go with them.

Crisp was named first star despite the gaudy numbers on the other side, as fans from Niagara - the other teams fans, remember - gave him a standing O when it was all said and done, a gesture that meant a lot to the young forward:

“It was appreciated so much — beyond words,” Crisp said. “Honestly, it was embarrassing to let some of those goals in, but I think the IceDogs’ fans knew. I can’t say enough about how fun and classy that was.

Hopefully, that was a once-in-a-liftetime experience and junior hockey GMs all over learn something from the experience. But in the end, Crisp got to have a good time with it, and took it all in stride.

“As soon I got on the bus I called my parents and as soon as they picked up the  phone they were laughing,” Crisp said. “It’s definitely something I will never forget.”

Comments (20)

  1. As someone in a different article about this pointed out. The other team was possibly ripping shots from everywhere due to the lack of a true goalie in net, making it very difficult to restrict the number of shots.

    • Yeah, that’s probably right. Still seems like quite a bit, but everybody woulda wanted their statistical bump.

  2. Tip to my fellow readers: be sure to click those links in the first chapter of this post.

    Just one more reason there to love Justin’s writing work. :)

  3. As being journalist by education, I’ve became little picky on what I enjoy to read (even in English, which isn’t my native).

    But these I really, really enjoy. Well-written, interesting hockey articles with great sense of humor. Nothing better. I hope that your employers see this same, too.

  4. That’s funny. We had to dress a player ( a plug at that) in a rec league game once. Difference is, we held the opposition to 3 shots and they got one goal. Total team effort.

  5. Its sad to hear from the Icedogs management. They rip on the GM for messing up and how its a disgrace – true, the GM admitted it, get over it; it still doesnt make the teams decision to play their top players in the 3rd period of a blow out

    • Not only is it dumb what Niagara did after the fact, but their own player RECKLESSLY INJURED Erie’s starting goaltender, getting ejected. Somehow that fact is lost here. Did Niagara, knowing the other team had only one goalie, decide to be a bit liberal in how they charged the crease in this game?

  6. Have to still add that it is a shame that one is not able to experience the genuine “is this link to another article or…..ohmygod it is an OWL” -moment more than once per article (or any given situation).

    World is much much better place with those moments, in addition to those “I can’t believe what I just saw and my jaw is dropping to my knees and I can’t help it” -moments which hockey is good at offering.

    • I’m very seriously considering doing an “O RLY” of the Week post. I’m convinced someone does something deserving of that owl at least once a week.

      • I’m quite sure that most of the time there would be problems to decide which candidate to award with this awesome owl. Also, those posts would be highly amusing. Waiting for them :)

  7. Another reason for the shot count:

    Niagara are one of the best teams in the league, currently 1st in goals scored (though before that game they could have been as low as 3rd), 3rd in the league for wins and points.

    Meanwhile Erie is dead last. And when I say dead, i mean it. They have 26 pts from 62 games – nearly 20 points back of 2nd last (Kingston, 45 pts). They have now allowed 303 goals, scored only 151. The next worst for goals scored has 171, for goals allowed 262.

    So, post game, it was one team that has a +104 goal differential vs one with -152.

  8. We didnt have our goalie for the middle school championship when i was in fifth grade, our best defensemen stepped in net and posted a 4-0 shutout win, but that wasnt the OHL hahaha

  9. After the first goal went in, I think the Niagra bench must have been licking their chops.

    It’s too bad for Erie. I know some NHL teams have had situations where they had only 1 goalie available. Guys get hurt, things happen. We all had a laugh, hopefully everyone’s alright in the end, good story.

  10. garbage win. run the goalie so you get a non goalie backup to play. hope they suspend the punk for the rest of the season, no attempt made to stop. no one’s impressed.

  11. Niagra showed class when the game ended, but none running up the score. Having said that I obviously didn’t watch the game, but someone else has mentioned they should have played their fourth line guys more.

    The highlights could have at least showed some of poor Crisp’s saves too! Actually makes you appreciate how hard it is to play in goal too!

  12. Someone get to work on “adapting” this into the hockey version of Friday Night Lights where the kid has to keep playing goal and saves the season….

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