Just about every hockey team has a couple of goalies, to either rest the starter or in case of injury, except for the Housatonic/Northwestern/Wamogo Mountaineers; they only had one junior Eric Chin.
“He didn’t miss one practice or game, he was 100% determined,” Mountaineers head coach Dean Diamond said. “He knew the season was on his shoulders, knew anything that happened good or bad was on him.”
Chin played in and started all 21 games the Mountaineers played this season, posting a 13-5-3 record overall, leading the Mountaineers to the sixth seed in the Division III hockey tournament, where they would lose 2-0 to Tri-Town in the first round.
“This was the best season since I’ve been here,” said Dean Diamond, who has been with the program for 11 years, nine as head coach.
This season was also a coming out party for Chin who didn’t see time his first two seasons.
“I guess I was making up for two years as a backup,” he said. “I just wanted to seize my opportunity.”
He did exactly that posting a 1.84 goals against average, made 463 saves for a .924 save percentage and had four shutouts, two coming against rivals Shepaug/Litchfield/Nonnewaug.
With all Chin’s success, being the only goalie did take its toll.
“It was tough, by the end of the season I was feeling tired,” Chin said. “It’s hard to stay motivated after we get handily beaten by Masuk, it’s hard, would be nice to have had a partner.”
“He was so hard on himself, nothing I could say, he would fix it himself,” Diamond said.
But every now and then Diamond would tell his goalie to give himself a break.
“I told him, he saved this team 100 times, they can save him,” Diamond said.
Still, Chin was the Mountaineers’ backbone, making 39 saves in a 1-1 tie against New Fairfield/Immaculate, 36 in one of his shutouts against the Spartans and even in losses he played well making 41 saves in a 5-1 loss to Masuk.
“God forbid he got hurt, we didn’t know who would be the backup,” Diamond said. “He was mentally in the game from start to finish, which is a big part of being a goalie.”