It’s often said goaltenders make the best penalty killers. In Rimouski’s 4-1 win over Cape Breton on Saturday, Océanic goaltender Maxim Gougeon did more than simply stop the puck while a man short, he scored a goal.
With the Screaming Eagles trailing by two goals late in the third period, Cape Breton head coach Mario Durocher pulled Olivier Roy for an extra attacker. What ensued was something that had only ever happened once before in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League’s history, as Gougeon was credited with a goal after firing the puck down the ice and into the open net.
"I was just hoping that we kill the penalty," Gougeon told Sportsnet.ca. "When I stopped the puck around my net, the first option I had was shooting the puck off the boards. Then I saw the hole in the middle so I just tried to clear it."
Since the league had only seen one goalie goal in its previous 39 seasons and counting, Lewiston MAINEiacs goaltender Peter Delmas thought it would be twice as nice to equal the accomplishment on the same night. Unlike Gougeon, however, Delmas was credited with his goal after it was determined he was the last MAINEiacs player to touch the puck.
A Québec Remparts defenceman missed a pass at the point during a delayed penalty call in the second period which resulted in Delmas’ goal, although it was not originally awarded to him.
"In between periods one of the stats guys came up to me and said, ‘Do you remember touching the puck before it went in?’ and I was like, ‘No, not really,’" Delmas said. "We looked on the video a few more times and it was me who touched it last before it went into the net so they gave it to me."
Antoine Lafleur, an overage goalie with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, was the first goalie to be credited with a goal. Like Delmas, Lafleur got his name in the record books by being credited with a goal after an errant pass went into an open net on a delayed penalty call.
Ironically, Lafleur’s first career goal also came in his first career start, then as a member of the P.E.I. Rocket. His goal, which came on the power-play no less, came in a 4-3 win over Halifax on Sept. 25, 2005.
"I don’t really care to lose that record," Lafleur told Sportsnet.ca. "I was more happy for the win in that game than (the goal) I scored."
As it wasn’t originally announced his goal, Delmas didn’t have the opportunity to properly celebrate his unique accomplishment. It didn’t take him long, however, to realize he wasn’t the only goaltender to reach the feat Saturday night.
"I actually found out (about Gougeon’s goal) later in the period," Delmas said. "We announced the out of town scoreboard and they announced Gougeon from Rimouski also scored. It kinda took a little out of my thunder but it was good and cool to be a part of that record."
Although their history is short in Lewiston, Delmas stands alone in their record books with the goalie goal. Lewiston goaltenders alumni includes Jaroslav Halak of the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles prospect Jonathan Bernier, who attempted scoring a goal on an open net two seasons ago but the puck was caught by a defenceman at the far blue line.
"You want to (score a goal) when you’re a goalie," said Delmas. "But it usually doesn’t come at that time (in the second period). The only time you’re thinking of scoring a goal is with like 45 seconds left in the game, they have their goalie pulled, you get the puck and you have an open shot to shoot. I definitely wasn’t thinking a goal during the play."
Gougeon may not have been thinking of a goal, but it ended up being the perfect cap to an impressive night. He made 50 saves on 51 shots to earn the win and first star nomination.
"It was good, very exciting. Especially the game he played," Océanic head coach Clément Jodoin said, adding that Gougeon’s goal was the first he had seen a goalie score in all his years of coaching. "I was excited for the kid. He had a good game… he kept us in the game and more than that he scored a goal."
Although all three can share the record, each goal came under different circumstances. Gougeon’s goal was shot into an empty net while playing shorthanded; Lafleur’s marker was a power-play goal while Delmas’ came at even strength.
Just don’t expect to see any of them to be manning the point on their team’s next power-play.
A recurring practical joke by Tri-City Americans forward Jason Reese became a reality last week.
Reese has been jokingly saying Chet Pickard should be the captain of the Americans after the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League named their goaltender, Roberto Luongo, captain in the summer. NHL rules stipulate Luongo is not allowed to wear the letter on his jersey so a small ‘C’ was placed at the chin of his mask, a ‘C’ that has shown up on Pickard’s mask at times.
"(Reese) has been doing that all year," Pickard said. "A couple times before warm up I’d go to put my helmet on and he’d tape a ‘C’ on my helmet."
Taylor Procyshen is the Americans’ captain but on Wednesday, Dec. 3, that’s not how it showed up on the online stats game-sheet. Pickard mistakenly had the ‘C’ next to his name instead of Procyshen. The mistake has since been fixed by the league but not before the players noticed.
"We were joking around that we’re going to have a press conference the next day announcing I’m the new captain as a joke," Pickard said.
As one of the NHL’s top developmental leagues, the Western Hockey League has many of the same rules. Among them is the same rule dictating that goaltenders may not wear letters. The league acknowledged, however, that it could be possible for a member team to follow in Vancouver’s footsteps, so long as the letter does not show up on the jersey.
Given how important the role of a goaltender has become to a team, compared to several decades ago when the rule was placed, the misprint on the game-sheet sparked some interesting arguments.
"I think there should be a rule where goalies can be captains," Pickard said. "When I think of the Vancouver Canucks, I think of Roberto Luongo."
"I’m not a trendsetter when it comes to things like that," Americans head coach Don Nachbaur said. "Ultimately as a coach what I do is, when you have a guy of (Pickard’s) stature you don’t exclude him from team meetings, your leadership meetings, your moments when things can be said. We expect everybody to be equal in that part regardless of whether you’re a goaltender, a defenceman or a forward. Everybody has that ability to be a leader and Chet is definitely a big part of what we do here."
If he were ever named captain of a team, Pickard said it wouldn’t change his temperament one bit.
"It would be cool to be captain of a team, especially a goalie," he said. "You don’t see that very often but I think it’s something you have to earn showing what kind of person you are not only at the rink but away from the rink."
Colts get offensive
The Barrie Colts got the proverbial shot in the arm they were looking for last week.
One of the Eastern Conference’s lowest scoring teams, Barrie added grit and goals in a blockbuster trade with the Kingston Frontenacs. Barrie acquired forwards Josh Brittain and Peter Stevens for young players Colt Kennedy, Mitch Lebar and Brian Lashoff. The trade, as Colts head coach Marty Williamson sees it, helps address their needs now and later.
"We knew we were going to make a deal but we had to get players that wanted to come back and it looked pretty certain they would be back next year and we didn’t just want to pick up a 20-year-old overage who would help us this year and nothing next year," he said. "We wanted to get older but only older that could help us next year and we felt we got that with both these guys."
Brittain, who fits the power-forward mould, scored 28 goals last season as a 17-year-old and is well on pace to eclipse that total with 17 goals in his first 30 games.
Stevens, meanwhile, is committed to rejoining the team next season an overager, which was something the team wanted.
"I think they wanted a change," Williamson said. "They were a little bit tired of missing the playoffs and that kind of stuff and they wanted a change and I think any change would have been good for them and they were both very happy to come here."
Williamson said the Colts had inquired about Brittain’s availability early this season. The Frontenacs had reportedly made him available with more than half the league contacting the Frontenacs to add the sniper.
As for the players the team moved, Williamson said the change should help the players heading to Kingston. With such a young team in Barrie, the Colts were in a better position to trade their young players rather than wait for them to develop.
"At some point you have to stop waiting for and have it right now and that’s what we thought we were doing by making this trade," Williamson said.
Any talk, however, of the Colts loading up for a run this season is premature.
"As long as the buying is in the purpose that we can help our team this year and next year, I think that will still be one of the main focuses of us buying anybody," Williamson said. "I don’t know if we’re going to be the buyer going out trying to pick out one of the high-priced overages or something like that."
In other Ontario Hockey League news, as predicted in Monday’s version of CHL Hot and Not, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds dealt overage forward Matt Caria on Tuesday. Caria heads to the Plymouth Whalers for three draft picks.
Also on the OHL trade front, the Windsor Spitfires acquired two-way forward Lane MacDermid and a draft pick from the Owen Sound Attack in exchange for a trio of picks.