East T-birds goaltender Lane Fox said he woke up Thursday feeling about the same as he always does after playing a hockey game. Legs felt a little like Jell-O. Some soreness here and there.
Nothing to indicate what happened the night before. Of course, maybe it was the scorekeeper who felt the after-effects of Dimond's 8-1 victory over East.
Fox made 86 saves on the 94 shots he faced, a barrage that was constant enough to prompt him to visit the scorekeeper to check his stats after the Cook Inlet Conference game at Ben Boeke Arena.
"I was thinking maybe 60," Fox said Thursday. "I was pretty shocked. I didn't think it was gonna be so high."
There is no record-keeping entity for Alaska high school sports, so there's no way of saying whether 86 saves is a single-game record. According to the National Federation of High Schools record book, the national record is 84 saves by a Flint, Michigan, goalie in 1987 — but in 2016, it was widely reported that Tony Bruns of Minnesota's Morris/Benson High School stopped 98 shots in a single game.
Bruns faced 110 shots in a 10-0 loss, which Fox said is more than he can imagine — even though he faced 94 shots against Dimond and 85 shots Saturday in a 10-1 loss to Homer.
To him, 86 saves sounds like plenty of action in a 45-minute game.
"To save 100-plus — that would just be crazy," he said. "After (the Dimond game) I was tired; I couldn't imagine 20 more saves."
Fox, a 17-year-old senior, saw an average of one shot every 29 seconds Wednesday night, so the highlight reel in his mind is understandably a bit blurry. But he remembers at least two specific moments.
One was a windmill glove-save in the first period on a shot from the top of the circle. The other was a goal Dimond scored with one second left in the second period to make the score 7-1.
"There's one second left, you're tired, exhausted, you're hoping for that buzzer to ring, and one squeaks by you," he said. "Very disheartening."
Yet Fox said he kept his spirits high throughout the game and during intermissions, as he has tried to throughout his career at East High. The T-birds are 5-14 this year, and 1-11 in the CIC.
The season has been particularly difficult lately. Last week, the T-birds had four players go down to injury, leaving them with seven for a Saturday road game against Homer. Homer won 10-1, with Fox making 75 saves on 85 shots.
Against Dimond on Thursday, East had 10 players, three of them goalies.
With a lineup depleted by injuries, this has been his toughest high school season, Fox said. But he tries not to let things get him — or his teammates — down.
"Hockey's always fun to me," he said. "You never let anything weigh you down. I always say to myself, 'Forget about the last goal, you just have to know what you have to improve on.'
"The game of hockey's all about fun — not wearing yourself out with the negatives. I try to keep everyone lively in the locker room. I try to keep the boys together and not to be so down."
Though being on the wrong side of a lopsided score is never truly fun, Fox said he likes seeing lots of shots.
"It's a lot more fun to be able to save those pucks instead of watching your team score (and) only getting five or six shots a game," he said. "It definitely makes you better."
Fox's counterpart Wednesday was the one who spent the game watching his team score. Hunter Kattness made five saves on six shots, allowing a second-period goal to Chase Solberg.
Dimond got eight goals from eight players. The Lynx scored four goals on 33 shots in the first period, three goals on 29 shots in the second period and one goal on 32 shots in the third period.
"They never let up from puck-drop to the end of the buzzer," Fox said of the Lynx. "A hard-working team."
Fox said he has one shutout this season, against Soldotna. According to East High's statistics, in 18 games he has made 773 saves and allowed 104 goals.
Fox is a big goalie — 6-foot-3, 220 pounds — and he hopes to play junior hockey after high school. But first, there's one huge goal he'd like to meet.
"To make it to state," he said. "To finally, out of the four years here, to make it to state."
East has one regular-season game left — Saturday against West — and after that the T-birds will try to pull off an upset in the CIC tournament and earn a trip to the state tournament. For Fox, nothing would be sweeter, not even a million saves.