OHL centre pressed into goalie duty in 13-4 loss
GM apologizes for 'embarrassment to the league'
Erie Otters centre Connor Crisp had a game he likely never would have predicted, donning the pads Sunday in a 13-4 loss to the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Crisp, 17, switched positions when starting goaltender Ramis Sadikov was taken out of the game just two minutes in after a collision with Niagara forward Alex Friesen.
Veteran OHL executive Sherry Bassin, the Otters general manager, has apologized for not having a backup netminder at the ready.
The team's other netminder, Devin Williams, was hurt Friday night in a loss to Saginaw.
"Late last night, our backup goaltender [Williams] failed a concussion test," Bassin told the team's website. "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. 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."
Crisp finished with 32 saves and was named the game's first star but was clearly in tough against the Central Division leading Ice Dogs.
"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 told The Canadian Press.
Ryan Strome, who played for Canada at the world juniors and is usually known as more of a setup man, scored five goals for Niagara.
While some might question why a player of Strome's calibre was still getting ice time well into the third period of a rout, Ice Dogs owner Bill Burke felt it was Erie who needed to apologize for their goaltending lapse.
"It's brutal. I don’t know how you can come to the game without a backup goalie," Burke told Bernie Puchalski of the St. Catharines Standard.
Burke said the Otters had nearly two days to find a goalie after the injury to Williams.
The OHL does not require teams to have a backup to dress.
Erie has a league-worst 10 wins in 62 games.
The Ice Dogs, meanwhile, scored a total of 24 goals in a successful two-game weekend.
With files from The Canadian Press