Toronto, ON – Colin Doyle is rarely referred to as an unlikely hero. However, on Wednesday night in game 5 of the 2013 Mann Cup Canadian Senior A Championship Series, Rock captain Colin Doyle was forced into playing out of position and strapping on the goaltending equipment as he guided his Six Nations Chiefs to an 11-7 win over the Victoria Shamrocks and a 3-2 series lead.
Six Nations starting goaltender Brandon Miller (Philadelphia Wings NLL) was ejected from the game at the start of the third period followed almost nine minutes later by an ejection of Chiefs backup goaltender Evan Kirk (Minnesota Swarm NLL) at the amateur lacrosse championship. The ejections meant that Six Nations had ten minutes to dress a goaltender to play the remaining 11:04 of the third period and Doyle was thrust into an unfamiliar role.
“I just knew it couldn’t be one of our defenders,” said Doyle. “I told the guys I was pretty confident in net and thought I could play 11 minutes. I am a big body and I am not afraid of the ball. Rory (Smith) really wanted to go in net but I convinced him that we needed him out there on the floor playing defence.”
Doyle, who played the goaltender position in minor hockey growing up, stepped between the pipes with the Chiefs leading 9-4.
“The experience brought me back to how much pressure there was at the goaltending position,” as Doyle reflected on the first moments in the cage and admitted his past hockey goalie experiences did not lend much assistance on this night. “Every 30-second possession, I was just counting it down. When a couple went by me pretty quick, it was a relief to have (Stephen) Keogh score one and then a second. Those goals loosened me up and I just let the ball hit me, but it was a very nervous few minutes for me.”
Just putting on the gear of his previously ejected teammates, already soaking wet and weighing over 10 pounds, served another challenge to overcome beyond the inexperience factor in the high-pressure situation.
“The physical demands of playing three nights in a row were a lot to deal with never mind the stress of what was happening,” said Doyle. “I didn’t want to take the helmet off on a break because I didn’t know if I could get it back on. My legs were rubber in the final few minutes and it gave me a brand new respect for the goaltenders in our sport.”
The night’s events were not lost on Doyle’s Rock teammates as many of them took to twitter to have their say including netminder Nick Rose who tweeted:
“That’s how you put your team on your back! What an effort from one of the greatest ever Doyley #Beast #MannCup2013.”
Doyle’s stat line prior to stepping into the crease to stop balls was a goal and an assist. While in net, he stopped 6 of the 9 shots he faced and also picked up an assist on one of Keogh’s late goals as well as player of the game honours for Six Nations.
The Mann Cup is an annual championship that pits Ontario’s Major Series Lacrosse champion against British Columbia’s Western Lacrosse Association champion in a best-of-7 series. Many players from the National Lacrosse League compete for local club teams during the summer months.
Inspired by Doyle’s performance, TSN will feature a SportsCentre “Top 10” counting down the best “playing out of position moments” on Thursday evening.
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