Eastview goalie stands his ground

Driscoll makes 64 saves in upset of fifth-ranked Eagan

It’s an axiom that dates to when they played hockey on frozen rivers: A team with a hot goalie is tough to beat.

Fans at Eagan Civic Arena know that to be true after watching Eastview goalie Zachary Driscoll work some magic Saturday night. The sophomore made 64 saves as the Lightning upset fifth-ranked Eagan 4-2 in a South Suburban Conference boys game.

“He had, to say the least, a huge game,” Eastview coach Drey Bradley said. “He stood on his head, as they say.

“Eagan is a really good team. They challenged us the whole game and Zach had to make a number of great saves. Their shots didn’t all come from the outside.”

Driscoll played Bantam hockey last year before joining the high school program. He did not have a starting job handed to him as the Lightning also had a returning senior goalie, Matt Montgomery.

Montgomery has a 2.38 goals-against average and .904 save percentage, numbers that would be envied by some starters in the South Suburban Conference. But Driscoll has been on fire recently with a 2.04 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and 7-2 record as a starter.

“We have to ride (Driscoll) now, as long as he’s playing so well,” Bradley said. “Monty (Montgomery) understands that. Right now, it’s his role to be the backup.”

Senior forward Ryan McNamara scored twice against Eagan, including the game-winner at 13:16 of the third period. McNamara also had an assist on Mitch Beattie’s second-period goal. Beattie assisted on Jake McGlocklin’s empty-net goal with three seconds remaining.

Eagan, which outshot Eastview 66-25, saw its South Suburban Conference lead shrink to two points over Bloomington Jefferson and Prior Lake.

Eastview, meanwhile, is quietly making strides. The Lightning, looking for its first winning season since 2007-08, improved to 10-6 overall and 4-4 in the South Suburban after beating Eagan. The team had won six of its last seven going into Tuesday night’s game against Prior Lake.

“We came into the season feeling like we had some good depth, better than we’ve had recently,” Bradley said. “We also had two good goalies that were going to battle for playing time.

“Now we’re at the stage where if we play 51 minutes, we have a chance to win. But we’ve got to do that consistently.”

McNamara leads Eastview with 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 16 games. Nick Abbott and Beattie have 16 points each, and McGlocklin has 15.

Eastview’s top line of McNamara, Abbott and McGlocklin was on the ice for all four Lightning goals in the Eagan game. The other lines have been playing well defensively, and Bradley said he’s hoping they will pop in a few more goals in the weeks before the section playoffs.

The Lightning returns to action against Lakeville North at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Apple Valley Sports Arena.