Connor Crisp allowed 13 goals — and was selected the first star.
And he deserved the honor in an unusual Ontario Hockey League game.
The 17-year-old forward was pressed into goal as an emergency replacement when Erie Otters starting goalie Ramis Sadikov was injured early in a 13-4 loss to the Niagara IceDogs on Sunday.
“Well, I’m a road hockey goalie, ball hockey goalie, but that’s the first time I’ve put on goalie equipment and played on ice since I was 5 years old,” Crisp said.
The Pennsylvania club dressed only one goalie after backup Devin Williams sustained a head injury in a game against Saginaw. Sadikov was knocked out 1:45 into the game Sunday. IceDogs forward Alex Friesen received a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct on the play.
With no backup on the bench the Otters had to either dress a player for the rest of the game or forfeit.
Enter Crisp, who hadn’t played this season after undergoing shoulder surgery, but was designated the backup goalie prior to the game.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be playing today,” Crisp said.
Following a 20-minute delay while he donned goalie equipment, Crisp stepped onto the ice and almost slipped, then fell while taking warmup shots.
“My feet are still cramped, I can hardly walk right now,” Crisp said. “Rammer’s skates were three times too small and not wide enough. That’s probably why I couldn’t skate.”
Crisp made six saves in the first period, 12 in the second and 14 in the third, which ended with a standing ovation and the first-star selection.
“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.
Ryan Strome led Niagara with five goals and an assist.
Still, Crisp was the star.
“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.”