It's not every day that a goalie scores a goal, whether it be in soccer, hockey or lacrosse. It's even more rare when such a feat comes in the playoffs. Amazingly, that's precisely what happened on Monday night in the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Final, where Niagara Ice Dogs goalie Mark Visentin notched a goal on an almost surreal 185-foot shot.
As reported in expert detail by Prep Rally's always excellent brotherly Canadian juniors hockey blog Buzzing the Net, Visentin's goal was the final one of a 5-2 victory in a pivotal Game 3 of the Ice Dogs' series against the Ottawa 67's. The goal came with just 38 seconds remaining and was notched with the Ice Dogs in a 6-to-4 man advantage, with no risk of icing.
Here's how Buzzing the Net's Neate Sager described the Coyotes prospect's goal, which is about as rare a feat as one can catch in hockey.
A goalie scoring a goal is like the triple play in baseball, a rarity that leaves observers abuzz, recalling if they've ever witnessed it previously. Along with typically needing a two-goal lead, the puck has to go to a certain area and the goalie needs a clear shot at the far goal. Visentin went behind the net to play the puck after the 67's dumped it in. He fired it high and out of the zone. It ended up hitting the net dead centre, giving him one more goal in the series than Ottawa's Tyler Toffoli, who's led the OHL in that category for two consecutive years.
It is believed to be the first goaltender goal in the OHL since Justin Peters scored for the Toronto-St. Michael's Majors against Sudbury on Mar. 30, 2004, also in a playoff game. Fred Brathwaite also scored for the Detroit Jr. Red Wings in the 1993 post-season. In the aftermath, Visentin, who spoke of how his minor hockey coaches long ago impressed the need to include playing the puck in his repertoire upon him, sounded as much like a fan as a player.
The high likelihood of icing is precisely why trying to find a scoring goalie is such a rare occurrence. Yet this time Visentin's goal counted, even if he was really just trying to get the puck out of his team's defensive zone.
"I honestly wasn't trying to score," Visentin told Buzzing the Net. "I was just trying to get it out. I looked up and it was just going in the net. I didn't even know, it just such a surreal feeling. A couple of guys started celebrating, 'you scored a goal.' I was like... it doesn't make sense.
"It was an awesome feeling and a great way to end the game if you look at the way the game went, with that one mistake I had in the second period. It was a good way to end it off."
While the goal may stand as what fans remember from Visentin's Game 3 performance, his defensive work in the net may have been even more important for the Ice Dogs. Visentin stopped an impressive 22 of 24 shots in the Game 3 win, helping Visentin atone for a rough Game 2 in which he was pulled in the 67's win which tied the series.
Now that he has an ever elusive goal, it's likely that Visentin won't be nearly as likely to try again in the future, as he acknowledged to Buzzing the Net.
"I missed [a shot on goal on Feb. 3] by about a foot and they called icing with nine seconds left and they got a couple of chances off that faceoff," Visentin recalled. "It was risky and on that one I was trying to score, so I guess I should just not try."