Coming Up at the Reit Time
UMD's Goaltender Makes Key Saves in Win
by Jill Saftel/CHN Reporter
WORCESTER, Mass. When Maine's Matt Mangene came at Minnesota Duluth goaltender Kenny Reiter from the right circle through the low slot, Reiter came out of the crease in an attempt to poke check, leaving the bottom right corner of the net wide open. Mangene went to make a backhand shot at the open spot, but Reiter came up big, reaching with his pad to make the save and keep UMD in the game, 1-0, in the first period.
Reiter would prove crucial for his team again late that period, when he shut down the Maine power play during a penalty on UMD captain Jack Connolly, a save that played a huge role in his team's 5-2 victory over Maine Saturday night at the Northeast Regional.
"When it was 1-0, he made a huge save to keep them from getting to 2-0. It was a real big save. You need those timely saves, I think he had about two or three other ones that certainly made a difference," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said.
Reiter's numbers aren't the most impressive in the nation, or even in the WCHA. With a .913 save percentage and 2.39 goals average, he ranks fifth and seventh in save percentage in his conference respectively. But being the No. 1 goaltender on a team looking for its second consecutive national championship doesn't mean making the most saves, so much as it means making the right ones.
"He did a really good job tonight. He was throwing a lot of pucks to the boards and into the corners. He was doing a good job of reading pucks and he had a strong game," teammate Jake Hendrickson said.
Reiter ended the game with 25 saves on 27 shots, just three in the third period. Still, a few of Reiter's stops prevented Maine from further seizing control of the game after building its 1-0 lead to 2-0.
"Those are uplifting things for your team when you get those saves. It's the same when you get a goal, it can really swing the momentum a little bit," Sandelin said.
The goaltender's performance has certainly swung the momentum for UMD several times this season, as he boasts a 23-8-6 record and .703 win percentage. Not to mention, Reiter led UMD to its first NCAA championship in a 3-2 overtime win last year against Michigan, a team who was looking for its 10th NCAA title.
For Reiter's coach, his goaltender coming up with big saves at the right time to keep the rest of his team in a position to win is nothing new.
"That's the year he's had, he's a had a solid year for us," Sandelin said. "You need that type of goaltending at this time of the year. You need big saves, and you need timely saves so hopefully he can provide us with that tomorrow, too."
Sunday brings a regional final matchup against a strong Boston College team who hasn't seen a loss since Jan. 21 — 16 games ago. BC hasn't scored fewer than two goals in any of those 16 games, and in four of those matchups, against Northeastern, Vermont and Providence, the Eagles scored five or more goals. During its win streak, the Eagles are averaging 3.9 goals per game.
But Reiter proved Saturday night he can stand up to a strong Hockey East offense, shutting down Maine's top line of Spencer Abbott, Joey Diamond and Brian Flynn, Hockey East's three top scorers. A strong offense isn't anything unusual for Reiter, who regularly faces the WCHA's best offenses.
If the senior goaltender plays anything like he did Satruday, coming up big when it counts with saves that boost the rest of the team, he'll give his teammates in front of him every chance for victory, a Frozen Four berth and a chance to defend its NCAA title.