One of the better things in hockey is scoring a goal and it's likely the player who enjoys it the most does it the least - the goalie. But on Mon., April 23, Mark Visentin, goalie for the Niagara IceDogs, not only scored but did it in the playoffs.
And while his team was shorthanded.
Visentin's Dogs were leading the Ottawa 67's late in the game, 4-2. The win seemed certain but a penalty to Niagara made it less so, especially when Ottawa pulled their goalie. That gave them 6 skaters to Niagara's 4, plus Visentin.
Mark Visentin scores in OHL
Being shorthanded, however, gave the IceDogs the ability to shoot the puck from their end to the other team's without being called for icing and bringing the face-off back to their end. So when the puck got shot behind his net, Visentin was just thinking of getting it down to Ottawa's end of the ice. He was not, he told media later, thinking about scoring a goal.
"I was just trying to clear it out. My major objective there was just to get the puck out. It's still almost surreal. It's tough to explain," he said in the dressing room after the game. "Growing up, I had coaches who always stressed learning to handle the puck. It's important."
Visentin,who played for Canada at the World Juniors the last two years, has learned to handle the puck well and showed it on this night. He got it behind his net and skated out to the side and saw an opening and shot the puck out, hard. Down the ice it went and straight into the goal, something he's never done in his career in the OHL. Few have. His goal helped Niagara win game 3 of the Eastern Conference final, 5-2; they now lead the series, 2 games to 1.
Cam Ward of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes
Visentin joins another goalie who's scored this season, but in the NHL. Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes scored Dec. 26 to become the 10th NHL goalie to score, though his goal was pure fluke. When, late in the game, New Jersey Devil Ilya Kovalchuk passed the puck back to the point the pass went down to score into the empty net; Ward was the last Hurricane to touch the puck and was credited with the goal.