Sitting in the stands at Garber Field as a kid, Reed Goodhue used to daydream about moments like the one he had Wednesday. Read Matt Vautour's great feature on the freshman goalie for the Minutemen and how the first save of his college career may have been the biggest of the season for the Minutemen.
Dream becomes reality for UMass lacrosse goalie Reed Goodhue
Sitting in the stands at Garber Field as a kid, Reed Goodhue used to daydream about moments like the one he had Wednesday.
The University of Massachusetts freshman lacrosse goalie from Topsfield has been going to UMass games with his father his whole life. Robert Goodhue is officially the executive vice president of the UMass Foundation and unofficially one of the school's biggest sports fans. Reed Goodhue saw his first men's basketball game at age 2 and spent the days following it imitating the late public address announcer Jack O'Neill's drawn-out "Looooooooooooooooooou Rooooooooooooe" call. He's been a regular in the stands at hoop, hockey, football and lacrosse.
When Goodhue got older and began playing goalie himself, those lacrosse games held particular interest. He paid special attention to former Minuteman standout keepers Bill Schell and Doc Schneider. As he watched UMass upset Syracuse and Georgetown, he envisioned himself one day wearing a Minuteman uniform, making a game-saving stop.
After a standout career at Masconomet High School, he earned a spot as the team's No. 2 goalie, a thrill in itself.
"I've seen so many great players pass through this program," Goodhue said. "It was always a dream to be a big contributor to it. Just being a part of that is great. "
He knew when he arrived that junior Tim McCormack was the returning starter. Goodhue focused on playing well in practice and being ready if he was called upon.
He played four minutes of low-pressure mop-up duty earlier in the season, giving McCormack a rest when the Minutemen were well ahead of Providence and Saint Joseph's, circumstances that bore little resemblance to the fire he was thrown into on Wednesday.
With the score tied 9-9 with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter of UMass' Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinal game against Penn State, Goodhue saw the two yellow penalty flags fly. The second was on McCormack, who was called for a one-minute unnecessary roughness penalty. In lacrosse a goalie serves his own penalty, meaning McCormack was coming out and Goodhue was going in.
"I just tried to get my mind focused. I was just trying to get a clear mind," Goodhue said. "All I was thinking about was trying to make a save."
The Nittany Lions would almost certainly get a good chance to score. A two-man advantage opens all sorts of shooting lanes. Goodhue couldn't hope not to be tested. A shot was inevitable.
He tried to think about stopping it and not the stakes of the moment. A Penn State goal would very likely mean a UMass loss and a loss would end the Minutemen's season.
UMass coach Greg Cannella told him to "do his best" as Goodhue shed his jacket and headed to the field. McCormack's message was more pointed as the two passed each other.
"Just one save," the junior starter told him.
Goodhue had a good look at the first ball that came his way, a low shot by Jack Forster, but it never reached him. Defenseman Tom Celentani blocked it, but Penn State corralled the loose ball and immediately attacked again.
"I wasn't thinking too much during the play, but I knew in the back of my head the seniors' careers could be over. Our season could be over. We've worked way too hard as a group to let it end at that moment," Goodhue said. "I was just focusing on the ball. I knew if I made one save, we'd be able to clear it."
Shane Sturgis faked a shot from Goodhue's right before threading a perfect pass across the lane in front of the net to Matt Mackrides.
The junior tried to fire high but Goodhue flashed his stick up, deflecting the shot with 43 seconds left. As the ball skidded away, Mackrides' momentum carried him into the crease, a violation that gave UMass the ball.
The Minutemen called timeout to get McCormack back into the game. Goodhue received a hero's welcome as he returned to the UMass bench.
"It was no surprise. Reed is one of the hardest workers we have. He makes saves and challenges our guys in practice," Cannella said. "But we were looking at a dire situation down two men with a minute and 45 seconds left in the game. That save was a big pickup for our team."
Goodhue's parents almost missed it. State College is a long drive in the middle of the week, an especially long trip to watch their son sit on the bench. But at the last minute Robert and Jeananne Goodhue opted to make the drive.
"It was the best 15 hours of driving I've ever done," his father said. "It was very nerve-racking, but a lot of fun. It's a dream come true for him and for us as well."
While many of his teammates eventually dozed off during the long, dark bus ride home through central Pennsylvania, Goodhue couldn't keep his eyes shut.
"I couldn't sleep. I was too excited," said Goodhue, who guessed that the moment replayed in his head about 1,000 times. "Just being on the team was a great opportunity for me. I just wanted to help any way that I could. The time came where I needed to step up and make a play in the game. I wasn't going to let that go to waste."