Matt Ustaski, pinball wizard
Matt Ustaski of the Wisconsin Badgers scored what is likely the strangest goal of his collegiate career on Friday, potting one from 190 feet. Sure, teams score empty netters all the time, but the Boston Terriers goalie Matt O’Connor was still on the ice at the time. The BU keeper skated out to start a counter-attack as the Badgers made a defensive change, but his pass careened off of defenseman Brien Diffley and into his own net.
It was very nearly UW’s biggest win of the year — they’ve only won twice in fourteen games — as Ustaski’s goal gave the Badgers a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes to play against the #2 ranked Terriers. It wasn’t to be, however. BU would score twice with O’Connor on the bench, including the tying goal with 2.2 seconds left, and would eventually win via the dreaded shootout.
Patrick O’Sullivan wins the US their first World Junior title
Marc-Andre Fleury may have a Stanley Cup ring now, but some people remember him most for losing Canada the gold medal at the 2004 World Junior Championship.
Canada was up 3-1 going into the third period, and Ryan Getzlaf very nearly made it 4-1 early. Patrick O’Sullivan scored for the US, however, at 4:39, and Ryan Kesler bounced a blooper over Fleury’s shoulder to tie it two minutes later. Canada was pressing for the winner with six minutes to go in regulation when O’Sullivan was nearly sprung for a breakaway on the counter. Fleury stepped forward, and much like O’Connor in the goal above, banked the puck off his own defenseman — namely, giant manbeast Braydon Coburn — and gave the US the lead for the first time in the game. The States would win their first-ever junior gold, and first medal of any colour since 1997.
Boyd denied, but Doan ain’t
Since the NHL adopted video replay, we’ve seen numerous goals nullified because the puck had previously gone in at the other end of the rink. This is perhaps the closest the NHL has ever come to doing so, but didn’t. While pondering the significance of the universe, Ilya Bryzgalov lets a long Dustin Boyd clearing attempt roll through him. Boyd has perfect weight; alas, Flames fans, Jovocop swoops in to bat it away.
From at least one angle, white ice is visible between the puck and the goal line, but what with it being round and all, there was still a millimetre of rubber in the no-goal position. After a two minutes or so of action, Shane Doan makes a classic power forward move from the corner and goes five-hole on journeyman Curtis Joseph. No question about this one. About as entertaining as a March 1st Flames-Coyotes game can get.
Mike Smith didn’t have a great 2014, and who’s to say it wasn’t this goal that started his downhill slide? Mark Pysyk challenges him for a rebound and the puck flies straight up off their sticks. When he can’t find the puck, Smith instinctively squats on the goal line to cover as much of the net as he can. Sadly, the puck had come down in his goalie pants, which were now planted firmly in the back of the net.
That goal just happened to be the overtime winner, and one of the few lucky bounces that went the way of the Buffalo Sabres last season.
Dance, Roberto, DANCE!
Canucks fans will be happy to tell you about all the weird goals scored against Roberto Luongo during his eight years in Vancouver. The Hall-of-Famer-to-be owns every franchise record a goalie can have, but many in the city had it in for Bobby Lou before he was moved back to Florida. This play during a home loss to the Montreal Canadiens includes five or six of the many, many bad bounces that went against the Canucks with John Tortorella at the helm in 2013-14:
Luongo leaves the puck behind the net for defenseman Jason Garrison, who in turn gives it to Dan Hamhuis. Somehow, the latter mishandles the pass and it winds up in Luongo’s feet. He does a little jig trying to find the puck, but instead pinballs that bad boy into the back of his own goal. As Kelly Hrudey (himself a victim of the bad juju in the crease from time to time) says, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one quite that odd, and I’ve seen a lot of strange goals.”