While there’s no doubt that barehanded plays in baseball are very impressive, a hockey goaltender doing the same thing is simply next level.
Next-level what? I don’t know. However, the words lunacy, bravery and silliness all come to mind.
During an AHL game between the Colorado Eagles and San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday night, Eagles’ goaltender Hunter Miska stole the spotlight in a second-period scramble. After making a save on the initial point shot, a few Rampage forwards were buzzing around the 24-year-old’s crease and looking to pounce on the rebound.
In the mayhem, while he tried to grab the loose puck, Miska lost his blocker. A moment later, a shot was fired his way and the netminder seemed to instinctively make the play despite the fact that a crucial piece of his protective equipment was lying on the ice beside him.
As they always say in hockey, who needs a blocker to stop a frozen piece of vulcanized rubber when you have your bare hand, right?
Miska’s commitment to the team is admirable. His Eagles had a 1-0 lead at the time and he wasn’t going to let this dicey situation get in the way of stopping that puck.
While both the play and its corresponding photo are pretty epic, the best thing to come from the sequence may be Miska’s reaction to it all. Once he covered the puck and the whistle finally blew, three players were lying in the crease behind him.
Miska didn’t seem to mind, though.
He simply collected himself and casually tossed the puck to one of the officials.
The Eagles went on to win the game 3-1.
Miska’s gutty performance apparently wasn’t enough to impress the Colorado Avalanche — the Eagles’ NHL club — though.
On the same night Miska risked his fingers for his squad, Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz look a nasty hit from Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets just 31 seconds into the first period. That knocked him out of the game and with Avalanche starter Philipp Grubauer also unavailable due to nagging lower-body injury, Adam Werner — the Eagles usual No. 1 netminder — was thrust into the vacant crease.
Making his NHL debut, Werner stopped every one of the 40 shots he faced to lead Colorado to a 4-0 victory.
With Grubauer and Francouz both on the shelf, it looked like Miska would be next in line to get called up to the big leagues.
Sadly, his story doesn’t have the same Hollywood ending that Werner’s did on Tuesday night.
The Avalanche announced that they had recalled Antoine Bibeau — another goaltender in their system — on Wednesday afternoon.
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