By Thomas Harrington
A sixth-round pick from 2015, Garrett Metcalf played for Mercyhurst University this past season. It was his second year at Mercyhurst and his third year of NCAA hockey overall.
Metcalf was Mercyhurst’s starter, but, unfortunately for him, they weren’t a very good team. Metcalf played in 28 games and had a record of 4-21-2. However, that poor record is certainly not his fault. Defensively, Mercyhurst really struggled. Metcalf had a goals against average of 3.52, but a save percentage of .908. He faced 981 shots in those 28 games, meaning that he faced on average over 35 shots per game, which is why his save percentage was strong while his goals against average was so high.
Offensively, the team wasn’t much better, as only two players hit the 20 point mark and two players had 10 goals. As a team, they averaged less than two goals a game. With a porous defense and little goal support, it’s unsurprising to see Metcalf have such a poor record and goals against average, but that save percentage shows even though he was on a bad team, Metcalf was always competing and didn’t give up on the season.
In one of the strangest sites I’ve ever seen at a hockey game, Metcalf did something I’ve never seen a goaltender do: sit in the penalty box. In their final game of the year, Metcalf had faced nearly 50 shots. He was frustrated and upset and with less than two minutes to go in the game, he purposefully shot the puck into the stands. He was given a two-minute penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. With so little time left in the game, the refs decided to put Metcalf in the penalty box.
After only appearing in 19 games in two seasons over a three-year stretch, I had one simple expectation for Metcalf this past season: to play in as many games as possible. Well, he went from 15 games to 28, so he certainly did that. I had expected him to split time in net, but by becoming Mercyhurst’s starter, Metcalf exceeded my expectations for him by quite a bit.
For his final season of NCAA hockey, Metcalf will be leaving Mercyhurst to play at Long Island University. Assuming NCAA sports happen this year, this will be the first season of men’s hockey at Long Island University. For Metcalf, he’s shown that he can play very well in a difficult situation.
Given the uncertainty around college sports, and this being a brand new team, setting expectations for Metcalf for this coming season will be difficult. What I’d like to see is for him to play as much as possible and continue his strong play from this past season. I don’t know if Metcalf will be the team’s starter, but I’d like to see him at least split time in the crease. Metcalf’s record and his goals against average doesn’t matter; what I’d like to see is for him to put up a strong save percentage again. Hopefully, the other statistics can improve as well, but I’ll be happy with another season of him saving most of the shots he faces.
Metcalf is currently unsigned. A year ago, I had thought that at the conclusion of his NCAA career, the Ducks would choose not to sign him and let him become a free agent. Anaheim has a number of goaltender prospects and they will have to pick and choose who to keep. However, given the adversity that Metcalf dealt with this past season, I have to think that Anaheim is now considering signing him a year from now. However, he’s going to need to have another strong season, and even then, it’s far from a guarantee. Still, I think it’s more likely today than it was a year ago.
The next prospect will be on Matt Berkovitz.
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September 2nd, 2020