Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What about Bob? Nah, What about Christian Frey?

Many hockey people in Columbus, Ohio are always talking about the Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bobrovsky has single handedly made the Blue Jackets a much better team.  In hockey your team is only as good as your goalie plays.  If your goalie plays bad your team is probably in for a long night.  Many would argue that Bob is the best goalie in town, but there is another goalie in town making waves and that is Ohio State's Christian Frey.

Christian Frey joined Ohio State last season about midway through from the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints.  There is no measurable word to describe what Frey means to the Ohio State hockey team.  He instantly made a hockey team last year that was at best 5th or 6th in the Big Ten, and put them in a place to challenge for the Big Ten Title.  Like Bob, his ability to go out and make saves keep his team in the game, and give them a chance to win when it seems that all hope could be lost.

Now, I could go on for the next several paragraphs about how great Frey is and give you a bunch of stats.  I could tell you tales of how he stunned Michigan State in a shootout last season at East Lansing.  We could talk more how he almost beat Minnesota outside on their football field but saved a better performance to get a W against the #1 Gophers in the Big Ten Tournament.  But no, we are not going to talk about all that we are going to talk about last Saturday against #11 Miami Redskins.

Now Miami came into this series after a disappointing season last year and with high hopes of redemption.  I commented on how well Providence played against Ohio State a week ago, and well let's just say Miami was better than Providence.  They have speed and they have depth to go with that speed.  They came in on Saturday night and dominated the Buckeyes.  Except there was one thing standing in their way and that was Christian Frey.

Christian Frey last Saturday in Oxford went for a career high 60 saves.  They talk about a goalie standing on his head when he plays well, Frey did so much more then stand on his head.  He received little help from the defense that had trouble all night clearing the zone.  He received as much as help from the offense scoring once on 21 shots.  So what was the final score? 6-1? 9-1? No, it was 2-1 Miami.  Great goalies keep you in the game.

Frey was the number one star of the game.  If you don't follow hockey that much and have no idea what this means, think of football, they announce their player of the game at the end; hockey announces 3, a third star (third best player), a second star (second best player) and the first star (best player).  Goals and assists factor into offensive players getting stars, and saves or goals allowed factor in for the goalie getting a star.  Frey was definitely the first star of that game with his 60 saves.

To put this into context, on average a goalie will make about 30 saves in a given night.  The number could be more or less depending about how much better or worse the team you are playing.  Also, style of play greatly contributes to number of shots on goal.  Some teams get more pucks on net because they have better shooters or players that are better at getting 2nd and 3rd opportunities around the net.  The direction of the game today is triggering more offense and more shots so goalies have to have more agility than ever.

So as you can see Frey saw about doubled the number of shots a goalie faces on average.  Frey has been a huge part of the recent success of Ohio State's hockey program.  His ability to keep the team in the game when it appears it is going to be a white wash is unbelievable.  Ohio State has the weekend off and then they head up to Canisius.  The Golden Griffins are 2-2 on the young season while Ohio State is 1-3.  The Buckeyes and Frey will be looking to get back to their winning ways. 

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