By Jim Davis on March 10, 2010
Brendan Desjardins, who is backstopping the Arkansas Razorbacks at this week’s D3 National Tournament, is the antithesis of Clemson’s Dave Werner, Catholic’s Kevin Pecca, Kennesaw State ’s Jerry Holden and the other Top Guns of the South. While they try to bury the puck in the net, Desjardins does everything in his power to keep it out.
He’s doing a very good job of it, too. During the regular season he was No. 1 in goals against average (2.33) among D3 goalies with at least 1,000 minutes of playing time and fifth in wins (14, many of them against D2 teams). And he has five shutouts this season.
Even in the Razorback’s 7-1 loss to Colorado today Desjardins played well. Two of the goals against came on power plays and two caromed off players into the net. “Our goaltender stood on his head,” said Arkansas coach Rick Desjardins, who also is Brendan’s dad. “We had 20 shots on us in the first period and only trailed 1-0.”
Brendan’s strong play this season came after a shaky start for the Arkansas junior, who is on the Dean’s List. It had been two years since he last played organized hockey, with a junior team in Dallas.
“He was a bit rusty,” says Rick, a goaltender himself in the past. “Four of our five losses were in December or earlier. If he played then the way he did later, we would’ve probably won those games . . . The goals he gave up in our last four games [prior to nationals] were all good goals, and three of the four were on the power play.”
An aggressive goaltender who challenges shooters, Brendan is also a classic butterfly netminder. At 6-1 he gives the shooter very little net to shoot at. “He has excellent fundamentals,” says Rick, referring to Brendan’s ability to square up to the shooter, cut down angles and control rebounds.
“A lot of goalies are good athletes, or do one thing or another well. He is a balanced goalie; no weaknesses. He’s very difficult to score against on penalty shots or breakaways.”
Rick says Brendan works with a handful of young goalies in the Dallas area and is an instructor at hockey schools and camps, which helps him identify areas in his own game to work on.
On Dec. 12, Brendan proved he was all the way back from his hiatus from the rink when the Razorbacks faced Missouri State ’s top D2 team on the road. Arkansas won 4-3 and Brendan stopped 44 of 47 shots. “There were 1,500 people in the stands and he was the best player on the ice,” says dad.
“It’s nice to be going into nationals now. He’s on top of his game, and that’s good for our team.”
Read more at HockeyYall.com.