Venti Shines Under Fenway Lights

January 15, 2012

By Chris Marino

Many kids growing up in the Boston area dream of playing under the lights at Fenway Park. Not many, however, dream of playing hockey in America’s most beloved ballpark. For Boston College senior and Needham, Mass. native Chris Venti, his dreams came true tonight during Frozen Fenway.

 The goaltender, after relieving freshman Brian Billet in Friday’s shocking loss to UMass, was given the nod in the team’s outdoor matchup with Northeastern. Not only did he play, but he was one of the most important factors in the Eagles’ close 2-1 victory.

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “I grew up in Needham. It’s only 15 minutes away from here. Coming to Red Sox games all the time with my family and knowing the culture of the Sox, it’s a special building to play in. Honestly, even more special was getting my first start for Boston College and being a playing part of a game. It was a very special night for me.”

 While he didn’t face too many shots, Venti was solid between the pipes, outplaying NU goaltender Chris Rawlings. He finished the night with 14 saves. Head coach Jerry York knew the importance of bouncing back from what he called the team’s worst loss of the season, and decided to go with the hot hand.

“Chris Venti got action last night up at UMass, and I just had a thought process after the game that I had to roll the dice and come right back with Chris,” York said. “And he really played well in his first start at Boston College. I think that was one of the keys to our game, solid goaltending.”

The senior, who has spent much of his BC career cheering his teammates on from the bench and becoming an important figure for the Eagles practices, made his first start at one of the greatest venues in sports. His humility was evident when he expressed excitement in not only playing at Fenway, but also having the chance to play alongside his teammates.

 Growing up in the area, Venti reflected positively on being a Red Sox fan, attending games with his family, and he joked when describing his youth baseball career.

 “I’d say one of my better [memories] was when my father took me to the home run derby when the All Star game was here,” he said. “That was pretty good because I used to be a baseball player too. I could hit them out. I was a lot bigger than I am now. If anybody knows me, I was a bit chubby as a kid.”

The hometown kid had his chance to play the sport his love, and no one was more excited for the senior than his teammates.

 “I think I speak for our entire team when I say that it’s well deserved, but I still don’t think it does him justice,” said junior Chris Kreider. “He’s easily one of the hardest working players I’ve ever played hockey with and I’ve ever played organized sports with. It kind of warms your heart to see him get a start and get a win and play as well as he did in this situation.”

 With so much success in his first career start, Venti has proven to Superfans that he can play in the Hockey East. After the game, York said that he plans to continue using the hot hand mentality displayed tonight, and it would appear that this makes Venti a serious contender for more playing time this season.

 Who says dreams can’t come true?


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