Junior player forced into goal

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.”