by Andrew Hoyle
It’s a fact of life, hockey players are going to get hurt. What’s not common is for a goalie to get hurt. Even more uncommon is for two goalies on the same team to get hurt; it’s enough to make a coach pull out the Grecian Formula and Rolaids. River City coach Mike Hastings was probably ready to call in the Marines after watching both his goalies go down with injuries. Unless a Marine can eat it, drink it, or blow it up, he’s not real interested. Instead, coach Hastings was able to aim a little higher..
River City started the season with three quality goalies: starter Dominic Vicari and backups Dan Tormey and Chad Beiswenger. Beiswenger, a 6’3″, 180 pound native of Morehead, Minnesota, was released early in November to make room on the roster, and was immediately picked up by the Bozeman Icedogs of the AWHL. On November 30th, Vicari (19 GP, 1065 MIN, 2.02 AVG, 13 W, 5 L, 1 SOL, 0 EN, 2 SO, 36 GA, 352 SV, .907SV%) sustained a knee ligament injury in the first period of a game against the Topeka ScareCrows. Vicari, a 5-10, 180 pound native of Clinton Township, Michigan, and the USHL’s second leading goaltender, is expected to be out until January.
Tormey (5 GP, 200 MIN, 3.63 AVG, 0 W, 2 L, 0 SOL, 0 EN, 0 SO, 13 GA, 79 SV, .859 SV%), a 6’3″, 180 pound native of Syracuse, New York, came off the bench and played admirably for the last two periods of the game. He stopped 21 of 23 shots en route to a 4-2 win. The netminding duties for the Lancers seemed to be well in hand.
The very next game, on December 6th, Tormey started in goal against the Des Moines Buccaneers. 1:36 into the first period, Tormey went down with a sesaon-ending shoulder injury that will require surgery to correct. In came emergency goaltender Shawn Flanagan, a former #1 draft pick of the Peoria Mustangs in the CSHL, and recently of the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL. Flanagan (2 GP, 114:34 MIN, 3.14 AVG, 1 W, 1 L, 0 SOL, 0 EN, 0 SO, 6 GA, 49 SV, .891SV%), a 5’8″, 170 pound native of Peoria, Illinois, was playing hockey in an adult pick up league with Lancer equipment manager Dan Bouska in his free time; he’s actually an Airman in the United States Air Force, stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. Technically a junior in standing for USHL eligibility, Flanagan put up 28 saves on 32 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Bucs.
Flanagan got another chance, though, this time at Tri-City. He notched his first USHL win last Sunday, 5-2 over the Storm, albeit with a scary moment or two. Early in the first period, Flanagan got his bell rung pretty good, and the Lancers took a time out to make sure he was ok. With the entire bench watching anxiously, and a borrowed midget goalie as the emergency backup, Flanagan took all the time he needed to clear the cobwebs and return to action. He ended up making 21 saves on 23 shots for the game, and was solid between the pipes. River City was also able to turn in three power play goals during the game, something that has been eluding the Lancers’ special teams of late. Forward Mike Howe also got the first hat trick of the season for the Lancers in this game.
In the meantime, the scramble to find another goalie has finally come to an end; the Lancers have just worked a deal to get Beiswenger back into Lancer orange and white. He and Flanagan will rotate until Vicari can return.
Just in time too, with the high-powered Sioux Falls Stampede and the streaking Waterloo Blackhawks coming to town this weekend….