Dave Wilson remembers his first career start
in net. The starting goalie of his Ontario house league
team got sick and was about to miss the rest of the season
so the coach asked someone to step up. Wilson, then a 12-year-old
blue liner, decided to rise to the challenge.
He allowed 12 goals.
made a name for himself last weekend, but was pulled
from Thursday night's game against Boston College.
"It was pretty depressing," Wilson
said. "I was pretty young so I didn't think that much
about it, but at the same time, I was thinking, 'Wow, my
team just gotten beaten pretty badly.'"
It would be understandable if his confidence
was a little shaky when he made his debut between the pipes
last weekend for Ben Bishop, who was out with a groin injury
and hip flexor. Plus, Maine was hosting Vermont for a pair
at Alfond in a huge series that would give the upper hand
for home ice in the Hockey East playoffs.
Wilson was thrown directly into the fire,
and he extinguished 63 of Vermont's 64 shots in the Black
Bears' two-game sweep.
"Going into the weekend, I was hoping
I could prove myself," Wilson said. "It was just
absolutely incredible right from the start on Friday night.
The crowd was great, and I was just pumped up for the game.
The way the team played was inspirational. We played solid
defense all weekend, and it was great to come out with the
Naturally, Wilson said he was a bit nervous
when he first hit the ice, but he had a tougher time getting
over the butterflies Saturday night. Maybe that was a good
thing. He stopped all 31 Catamount shots to record his first
career collegiate shutout.
"I had butterflies all weekend,"
said Wilson, who actually recorded a shutout the game following
his 12-goal debacle. "The first night actually took
less time than the second night. The first night, it took
maybe halfway through the first period. The second night
took about five or 10 minutes into the second period. It
was weird how that played out.
"I thought I would be more relaxed the
second night, but there was the added pressure that I knew
Vermont was going to come after it with an even stronger
game the second night. It was more stress because I knew
it would be a tighter game."
The freshman netminder even had an extra hop
in his step walking around campus on Monday.
"I did actually," he said. "I
felt a lot more confident. Going into practice, I'm going
to have a lot more confidence just knowing that I can play
at that level."
The extra confidence can be a huge thing for
a goalie who doesn't often see the ice, especially when
he resides behind one of the premier netminders in the league,
one who led his team to the Frozen Four just a season ago.
With Bishop still not completely back at 100
percent, Wilson got the start again during the first game
of the series against Boston College, but allowed four goals
on 19 shots in just over 30 minutes and was pulled in favor
of Bishop. It may have been a tough outing, but Wilson's
performances against Vermont showed his potential. This
gives coach Tim Whitehead a luxury he didn't realize he
had all season, as the sophomore Bishop started the team's
first 27 games. Now, it's a luxury he plans on taking full
"There's no question it's been a very
good development for us," Whitehead said. "It's
unfortunate Ben got hurt, but in the long run, it's very
good for our team because now we have two very good goalies
we can depend on in the stretch run. It's very good for
"I certainly feel that if David continues
to play the way he is playing now, it would be foolish to
just go with one [goalie]. The ideal scenario is both guys
play well, and we can continue to get both in and go from
there. We'd like to continue to get David in until Ben comes
back at full strength."
Before Bishop's injury, a blessing in disguise
for the Black Bears, Wilson had a tough time coping with
the realization that he had no idea when – or even
if – he would see the ice. Now, he knows he can be
a reliable second option.
"It's difficult knowing that I probably
won't play each weekend," Wilson said. "Ben has
been really great this year. He has been our backbone this
year. It's been tough for me personally to go out every
night and focus and practice real hard all week, but once
you get the chance, you've got to prove yourself."
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
All in the family: Before
he was his coach or his biggest fan, John Butler was New
Hampshire freshman forward Bobby Butler's father.
John Butler, who has been coaching Marlborough High School
hockey for 21 years, coached Bobby for five of them (he
played in the eighth grade, too). Obviously, John never
missed any of his son's games, and even though he now plays
his home games 90 minutes north of Marlborough, that hasn't
With the exception of a couple instances when
John had to coach the Panthers, he has been to every of
Bobby's 27 games. The pair he has missed he watched on television.
"It's awesome," John said. "Its
great to watch that level of hockey and seeing him play
at that level. He has worked hard for it, and it's a great
They talk after every game, whether on the
phone or in person, and Bobby still has to listen to his
old coach get one last word in.
"After games, he is more of a coach,
but he's a father afterwards," Bobby said.
When Bobby chose to attend UNH, he had a lengthy
discussion with his father. After all, it's not the easiest
decision in the world to play for a school that has long
been known to recruit and play some of the best forwards
in Hockey East.
"I just told him when we looked at the
roster before he went that that he would be have a hard
time being one of the top-12 forwards on that team,"
John said. "There are a lot of talented players up
there, and he would have to fight just to be able to get
a sweater up over his head.
"Then [Daniel] Winnik went to the NHL,
some kids got hurt, spots opened up and he got his chance.
I told him he would have to be patient, go there in best
shape of your life and make it so the coach has to dress
He started the season on the fourth line,
but after the Wildcats suffered a few bumps and bruises,
he got pushed up to the third line and even saw some time
on the first line when Brett Hemingway missed a game.
"He can play on any line," UNH coach
Richard Umile said. "He is a big, strong power forward.
He's like a young Brett Hemingway with a lot of power. He
is going to be a good player for us.
"In my opinion, he is one of the top
forwards in the league. He has done a lot for us in a lot
of different spots. We're really pleased with him."
"I'm just glad to be out there,"
Bobby said. "It's a great group of guys to play with."
Regardless of where he sits on the line chart, he has turned
an entire town into UNH followers, including his younger
brother Alec, a defenseman for Marlborough High.
"The whole town of Marlborough –
everyone who watches hockey – is proud of him,"
John said. "They all watch his games. Even the guys
he played against like Hudson (Marlborough's huge rival),
Leominster and Gardner, I talk to those guys and they are
proud that he is a Central Mass. kid. He has a lot of fans
out there that he doesn't even know about."
Great Weekend Getaway
at BU (Sat.)
If UNH can earn at least a point in the two teams'
meeting Friday night in Durham, the Wildcats can win
the Hockey East regular-season crown Saturday at Agganis
Arena. UNH has won three in a row since dropping two
of three, and has outscored teams 9-3 in the process.
The Terriers tied UNH, 4-4, at the Whittemore Center
earlier this season, but will be fighting to avoid
a Beanpot hangover this weekend. BU (first) and UNH
(third) are representing two of the best defenses
in the country this year.
While You’re There: If you
get into town a night early, Boston College hosts
Maine on Friday. This will serve interest to fans
of both teams, since they can head to Conte Forum
and cheer against their chief rival.
the good guy working in the Garden's Will
McDonough Room, who stayed until nearly 2
a.m. after the Beanpot final — even though he
had to be on a construction site at 5:30 a.m. —
while a few writers finished their stories. Same for
a couple more workers who opened the garage an hour
after it closed, saving some writers from having to
rent a bench for the night from the homeless folk
at North Station.
Jeremy Jacobs has opened his wallet for some high-priced
free agents, can he pay the heating bill at
the Garden, too? It's freezing in that place.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• This is one of the most unique weekends
Hockey East has seen in quite some time. First-place New
Hampshire plays second-place Boston University. Boston College
plays Maine (each team is tied for third). Fifth-place Vermont
plays sixth-place Massachusetts. Seventh-place Northeastern
plays eighth-place Providence. And ninth-place Lowell plays
• Here are John Curry's numbers compared
to the only other two goalies who have won the Hobey Baker.
Heading into this weekend, Curry is second in the nation
with a 1.76 goals against average, third with a .936 save
percentage and first with six shutouts. He also has a 13-5-7
record between the pipes.
Ryan Miller, who won its in 2001 with Michigan
State, had one of the greatest seasons in college hockey
history for a goalie. He boasted a 1.32 GAA, .950 save percentage,
10 shutouts and 31 wins.
Robb Stauber became the first netminder to
win the award in 1988 with Minnesota. He posted a 2.72 GAA,
.913 save percentage, five shutouts and 34 wins. It's worth
noting that neither goalie won the national championship.
• Brian Boyle, Simon Danis-Pepin and
Ben Bishop all appeared on the ice together at Conte Forum
Thursday night. All standing at 6-foot-7, they are the three
tallest players in the league.
• Nevin Hamilton has recorded two shutouts
in his last three games for UMass Lowell. The River Hawks
are 2-0-1 over their last three games.
• Cory Schneider is now tied for fifth-all
time for victories by a BC goalie. He won his 53rd game
last weekend, knotting him up with Greg Taylor (1993-97)
and BC assistant coach Jim Logue (1958-61).
• During last Friday's "White Out
Night" at the Mullins Center, 7,240 fans witnessed
UMass' 3-2 loss to BU. It marked the second-most fans to
watch a UMass hockey game.
• Just when you think things are going
right, here comes UNH. Merrimack had killed off 70 of its
last 76 penalties entering last weekend, but the Wildcats
scored five power-play goals in their weekend sweep of the
• Friar Chase Watson and Minuteman Brett
Watson faced off for the first time ever in their collegiate
careers last weekend.
• Vermont has scored one goal or less
in five of its last six games.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached