Monday 26 February 2024

Denied A Doughnut

The masked man to the left is Calgary-born netminder Matt Davis. Davis guards the net for the NCAA's University of Denver Pioneers where he's 12-4-3 this season with a 2.82 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Davis played a couple of seasons in the AJHL with the Spruce Grove Saints before spending one season with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, but his numbers have been pretty consistent throughout his career no matter where he was playing. While this season has seen him play games for Denver than any before, I'm not certain that what happened Saturday night has ever happened to Davis in his career. What we need to ask is how well do people know the rulebook at the NCAA level when it comes to what Davis did Saturday night!

With Denver leading 2-0 over the University of Miami-Ohio Redhawks late in the first period, there was a delayed penalty awaiting to be called on Miami's Ryan Sullivan for holding. That prompted Davis to head to the bench for the extra attacker as Denver had possession in the Miami zone, and that's where we'll go to the video below.
As explained in the video, the centering pass by Tristan Broz is deflected by Miami's Robby Drazner which causes the puck to go off the boards and down the ice before it ends up in Denver's net. Because Miami didn't gain possession of the puck, the delayed penalty wasn't called, and end result was the Miami goal stood, the penalty was finally called, and Denver went on the power-play as they led 2-1. For the record, Denver would win this game by an 8-1 score.

It's technically not an own-goal by definition, but that's not why we're here. Instead, Davis stopped all 27 shots he faced on the night, and was in no responsible for the puck that slid down the ice after the deflected pass caused it to come to rest in his net. Let's find out how well you know the rule book because, technically, he wasn't scored on and stopped every shot sent his way, so he should receive a shutout, right? Or maybe an asterisked shutout? After all, Denver published the recap with a headline that seems to indicate that Davis will see an increase to his shutout total this season. Are they correct?

It turns out that the Denver writer was incorrect in his headline as Matt Davis will not see his shutout total increase as per the NCAA's Ice Hockey Statisticians’ Manual. Section 6, Article 3 on goaltending has a note that reads, "Note: Empty-net time (i.e., during a delayed-penalty call) does not preclude a goaltender from being awarded a shutout. If a goal is scored during an empty net situation, then the goalie does not receive a shutout."

So there you have it: case closed on whether this was a shutout in the eyes of the NCAA - it was not. While I'm not here to call out the writer doing the recaps for the Denver Pioneers, it seems that headline is somewhat inaccurate since Davis will get credit for the win and making 27 stops on 27 shots, but he does not get an increase in the shutout column for his efforts on Saturday.

Some will say, "Teebz, everyone knows it's not a shutout if you get scored on," but this is one of those weird moments in hockey where Matt Davis didn't get scored on over the course of the game, yet he doesn't get to record a shutout. It's the same as when two goalies split a shutout - neither gets credit for the shutout - despite both goalies denying every chance. Of course, that's the risk a team and a goalie take when they opt to throw the extra skater on as an errant pass can end up in the vacated net. And there goes the shutout.

After this weekend, Denver sits in third-place in the NCHC, two points up on Colorado College and four points back of St. Cloud State. Denver will play St. Cloud State on March 1 and 2, so things could very interesting if they can post a couple of wins, and they'll finish off the regular-season schedule with a home-and-home with Colorado College, so Denver truly may control their own destiny when it comes to where they'll finish in the conference.

Of course, goaltender Matt Davis will be a big part of that finish with how he's played, and we'll see if he can record an authentic shutout in the final four games as opposed to having one taken away because of a deflected pass that took the right angle off a bounce while he was trying to help his team!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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