Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Great Equalizer

No single player can make more of a difference in all of team sports than a goalie in hockey. Pitchers in baseball come close. At their best, they have the ability to render an opponent's weapons completely ineffective. And if you can't score, you can't win. But only a goalie can allow a team that gets thoroughly dominated--that loses in every facet of the game except the final score--to nevertheless eke out a victory.

That fact was surely on display last night as the Badgers beat Minnesota 3-2. They were outshot 45-23 and seemed to spend most of the game in their own zone. The Gophers simply had more energy and created all of the offensive pressure. And yet, because Shane Connelly made 43 saves, the Badgers won. That's not a pattern they'll want to repeat tonight. But if Connelly can stay on his game, even a less-than-perfect outing might be enough to take the series.

No comments: