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.”