The first loss for a goaltender is one of those rites of passage anyone who gets between the pipes has to endure. For a position that demands as much mentally as it does physically, how a goalie responds to defeat is as a big a test as his puck-stopping acumen.
For Boston College would-be freshman phenom Cory Schneider, that moment won’t come until next year. His first loss came Saturday night, in the NCAA East Regional against North Dakota.
It didn’t take long to discover that it wasn’t Schneider’s night. Travis Zajac pounced on a rebound 42 seconds into the game that found the back of the net. A defensive breakdown led to another tally in the first period and Drew Stafford made it 3-0 before 11 minutes had elapsed in the game, making a great move on a breakaway.
“Every time we made a mistake early it was in the back of the net before we even knew it,” said BC coach Jerry York. “It was a hard game for [Schneider]. On the first goal, there were three or four whacks at a rebound.”
Schneider did not play poorly, and made some remarkable saves to give the Eagles a chance to come back. But BC could draw no closer than 4-2. He finally relented in the third period under a barrage of odd-man rushes, forcing York to pull him in favor of senior Matti Kaltiainen.
It happens to everyone.
“I thought there were seven to eight minutes left and I went to Kaltiainen and asked him if he wanted to finish his career on the ice,” York said. “It wasn’t in deference to [Schneider’s] confidence.”
13-1-4 is a heckuva first-year record. That “one” seems a bit bigger right now.
Through the Beanpot, Schneider platooned with Kaltiainen, missing some time at Christmas to play for Team USA at the World Junior Championships. He was injured at the FleetCenter, but came back at the end of the year and finally dislodged Kaltiainen in the Hockey East quarterfinal.
He didn’t have the game of his career Friday night against Mercyhurst either, but he stopped several breakaways in the third period to preserve the 5-4 victory.
As a sophomore next year, Schneider will come into camp as the clear number-one goalie. He’ll have one more freshman test to pass in October.
“He’s going to be a terrific goaltender,” York said. “It may not seem so right now, but these things can be used as a positive as the weeks go on.”
With the win, UND goaltender Jordan Parise eliminated some personal demons for him and his team at the NCAA regionals.
At the West Regional in Colorado Springs last year, Parise surrendered just one goal in two games, but wound up losing to eventual champion Denver 1-0 in the final. Though he may have given up two more goals than a year ago, Parise made sure that the Fighting Sioux advanced to the Frozen Four, making 33 saves on Saturday to be named tournament MOP.
“The big question going into this year was Parise,” York said. “His performance as a goalie making big save after big save put [North Dakota] on another level.”
Parise’s weekend continued his dominant second half of the season for the Fighting Sioux. The goal he surrendered to Chris Collins in the second period snapped a 126:25 shutout streak. He had last given up a goal in the second period of the WCHA third-place game.
“I’m very relaxed when I play, just taking it one shot at a time,” Parise said. “I’m not trying to look too far in the future.”
Penalty Kill to Perfection
After killing off 10 penalties against Boston University Friday night, Rory McMahon remarked that though they practice the penalty kill quite a bit, the Sioux had better not do it against Boston College, which has a much better power play than the Terriers.
Maybe instead of directing his comments to the media, McMahon should have told teammate Matt Greene. The defenseman took five penalties as part of a team effort to give the Eagles nine power plays.
UND did, however, give a command performance while shorthanded. The Fighting Sioux killed off all of the Eagle power plays, including two five-on-threes.
“Our players fought through a lot of adversity tonight,” Hakstol said. “Penalty killing obviously starts in net … Come playoff time special teams often make the difference.”
Do You Practice The Five-On-Three?
Aside from Zajac’s goal in the second period, it wasn’t a very good night for either power play. The Sioux went 1-for-6 with the man advantage as BC killed two five-on-three power plays themselves, making both teams a combined 0-for-4 while up a pair of skaters
With 3:21 left in the second period, Hakstol smelled blood and called a timeout. Boston College had just taken a penalty to give the Sioux 1:04 of a two-man advantage and he wanted to rest his top power-play unit and set up the finishing blow for the Eagles’ tournament.
The Sioux had their chance with a de facto three-on-one in front of the net, but somehow Schneider managed to cover up the puck.
Off a two-on-one rush, Zajac led Colby Genoway too far with the pass. Genoway picked up the puck along the goal line and just threw a puck on net that surprised Schneider, finding a way through his legs for an improbable goal.
Or did it?
After the second replay on the DCU Center screen, the BC bench erupted in protest and a lengthy replay ensued. Apparently, the net lifted up and the puck slid underneath it. Once the goal had been waived off, the assistant referees scoured the net for a hole the puck could fit through, but didn’t find any.
UND: We Don’t Know Drama
North Dakota’s 6-3 rout of Boston College was the only non one-goal game of the day. All of the other games were decided by just one goal, with three going to overtime. The Fighting Sioux spared the fans who made the trek from Grand Forks the suspense. By the third period, they were already planning their celebrations on Shrewsbury Street.
A one-liner overheard in the press room from one media relations person: After North Dakota defeated Boston University and Boston College in one weekend, “It’s North Dakota’s first Beanpot.”
Sioux Return Home
With the victory, the Fighting Sioux head back to the Frozen Four for the fifteenth time and the first since 2000-01, when it lost 3-2 in overtime, ironically to the Eagles. North Dakota has seven NCAA championships, second on the all-time list to Michigan.
G Jordan Parise, North Dakota
D Nick Fuher, North Dakota
D T.J. Kemp, Mercyhurst
F Colby Genoway, North Dakota
F Travis Zajac, North Dakota
F Brian Boyle, Boston College
Most Outstanding Player: Parise