Gordon is the backbone of Ridgefield success
What is the secret to being one of the best goalies in the state, on the best team in the state?
Bagel, egg and cheese sandwiches and cookies.
“I always get a bacon egg and cheese from Parma (Market Bakery) and a black and white cookie,” Ridgefield goalie, Sean Gordon said. “I usually eat about half the cookie and give it away to someone else like (teammate) Logan (Chang).”
Then there’s the dancing.
“He loves dancing,” Ridgefield coach Shaun Gallagher said. “Every time I walk into the locker room there is some sort of dancing going on with Sean.”
Some of the moves he has in his repertoire?
“I got the shoot dance, a little bit of flossing, a little of this,” Gordon said, showing off his moves at practice, moving his fist in the air. “I don’t know what this is.”
Whatever his dance moves are before the game, along with some stretching, hand-eye workouts and super ball practice, it’s his moves in the net that have made Gordon a wall in net for the No. 1 Tigers this season.
Through 11 games – all wins for the Tigers and Gordon – the senior goaltender has allowed just 12 goals, good for a 1.29 goals against average. He has faced 218 shots (19.8 per-game) for a .945 save percentage.
“Sean Gordon, best goalie in the state by far,” senior defenseman Brady McSpedon said. “He’s calm, he’s poised. If he ever gets scored on, he is quick to forget.”
Forgetting Gordon, well, that is something that happened last season. As a junior, his first season as the starting goalie, he led the Tigers to the Division I semifinals, allowed 1.5 goals a game and won over 20 games. Yet, his name was absent from all postseason honors.
A lot of credit goes to the high-scoring Tigers’ offense that has scored 5.3 goals a game–especially the top-line of Nick Cullinan, Matt Walker and Will Forrest, who strike fear into opponents every time they step in the ice.
“We see how good, Nick, Will and Matt are and deservingly so,” senior defenseman Daniel Parson said. “Every shift it seems like they’re getting a scoring chance.”
Despite a lack of love from anyone outside of the team, it doesn’t matter to Gordon.
“I don’t care about the rankings,” he said. “I don’t care if I am put up as the best goalie in the state or the worst goalie in the state. I don’t care if we’re ranked as the best team in the state or the worst team in the state. Every time I go on the ice, every time I go in for a game, it’s the same mindset. I don’t care what anyone else think, I am just trying to help the boys win.
“Every time I go on the ice, a pretty big motto for me is to prove people wrong. Prove anybody wrong, who has any doubt.”
There isn’t any doubt in the locker room.
“He knows, our room knows and that’s all that matters to me,” Gallagher said. “It’s really difficult to know the whole picture, exactly what is going on in a team’s room.
“That’s all I am concerned about. I’m never concerned if some other team is crushing him on social media or he’s not on a list (All-State, All-Conference) or whatever. In our room he’s earned every single player and coaches respect because of his hard work, because of his attitude and basically, that is all that matters.”
On Jan. 11-12, No. 1 Ridgefield and No. 2 Darien pitted themselves in a rare home-and-home series.
Facing the No. 2 in the state one night is hard, facing them again the next night, is no easy feat. For Gordon though it was just a regular day in the office.
The senior made 19 saves at home in the first game of the home-and-home, a 3-2 overtime win.
He then followed it up, with an even better performance the next night. A 2-0 Ridgefield win, that saw Gordon make 36 saves and post his first shutout of the season.
“It isn’t surprising to me that he was able to go through 90 minutes in two days, with pressure,” Gallagher said. “It was a back and forth game, momentum swings both ways, power plays are very tiring for the penalty kill units.
“Darien produced a lot quality chances, especially on the power plays and Sean came up huge. Yes, that is the by far the best I have seen him play.”
That’s saying a lot, considering tt wasn’t that long ago that Gordon became a goalie.
The 17-year-old first put on the pads when was about 9 or 10 years old, when he played his season of house league hockey. “We needed a goalie, so I decided to play,” he said.
He also got a ton of practice at home with his twin brother and teammate, Tyler Gordon
“I’d put on my pads and we would go into the driveway and he would shoot on me,” Sean Gordon said.
Gordon’s attitude, mainly his ability to stay calm, is what makes him stand out to his teammates.
“He relieves our stress a little bit, knowing he is back there is always a good thing,” senior defenseman Simon van Wees said.
“Just how he keeps calm and doesn’t want any of the credit,” Parson said. “He just compliments the defenseman and the forwards for just doing our jobs.”
The defensive group for the Tigers has been key all season.
Not many teams can run three different defensive pairings during any game, the Tigers are one of the few.
Parson, McSpedon, van Wees, Kevin McNicholas, Pat Rigby and Logan Chang have helped Gordon and the Tigers allow just 1.2 goals against a game.
“I can always trust them to get the pass, I can always trust them to block shots, I can always trust them to get the guy that’s backdoor,” Gordon said. “I have so much faith in them. I never have a second thought and that helps me a lot during the game.”