Skip to Content

DU Goalie Matt Davis Breaks Down in Tears After Making Life-Saving Championship Game Save

ST. PAUL, MINN. — A genuine hero sheds tears.

Matt Davis, the goalie for the Denver Pioneers, openly wept on Saturday, displaying his emotions for the entire hockey community to witness. His tears were tears of joy, pride, and gratitude for his mother’s continued presence.

“Indeed, real men do cry,” Davis expressed to me, following the Pioneers’ 2-0 victory over Boston College, a game that solidified his status as a legendary figure in DU hockey.

“These tears are a tribute to my mom. It’s overwhelming to have her here, sharing this moment with me. She has endured so much. Since 2018, she has fought a courageous battle against mantle-cell lymphoma. It was a challenging journey. Truly challenging.”

After securing Denver’s 10th championship in school history, Davis found himself on the ice, a mere 10 feet away from the spot where he executed a remarkable save. Tears welled up in his eyes as he gazed affectionately at his hero, his mother Kathleen, a survivor of cancer.

“Chemotherapy. Radiation. Stem-cell transplants. Three years of ongoing treatments. But I’ve triumphed over it,” shared Kathleen Davis, who, due to physical constraints, could not travel from Canada to witness DU’s ninth championship victory at the Frozen Four in 2022.

Her journey evoked tears of gratitude.

Like mother, like son.

“I am incredibly grateful to be here, surrounded by my family,” she expressed. “I am alive…to experience this moment with my son. I have conquered it. But it took a community.”

On a night where his focus never wavered, the 22-year-old goaltender from Calgary thwarted every offensive attempt by the top-ranked Boston College team, comprising four players already drafted in the first round of the NHL. Davis made 35 saves, including 23 crucial saves in the final period, where the Eagles applied relentless pressure.

However, it was a pivotal moment during a power play in the final period that stood out. Davis executed an extraordinary save, leaping from one goal post to the other with a gravity-defying stretch akin to a superhero, earning admiration for his remarkable agility and skill.

“I saw it on the Jumbotron,” Davis remarked, taking a moment to appreciate his feat during a break in the game. “And I thought: ‘That’s impressive!’ As long as it’s not a goal, it’s impressive.”

The question arises: where on the University of Denver campus will a mural be painted to immortalize this historic save? Perhaps on the side of the Ritchie Center or the East wall of the original Chipotle? Alternatively, artists at Modern Ink on South Downing could craft a tattoo depicting Matty Ice, a symbol of pride for DU graduates in 2024.

“That save was the best I’ve ever witnessed in my life. And from that instant, I knew we were destined to win the championship,” remarked DU forward Massimo Rizzo. “He is the world’s best goalie!”

Consider this: aside from center Cutter Gauthier, a finalist for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, every member of the Eagles’ second line is a first-round NHL draft pick. The potential of American-born freshmen Gabe Perreault, Will Smith, and Ryan Leonard, who took the shot that elevated Davis to DU legend status, hints at a promising future, possibly culminating in a joint appearance at the 2030 Olympics for Team USA.

The Pioneers took the lead with a goal by Jared Wright, a fortuitous shot that eluded goalie Jacob Fowler, occurring at 9 minutes and 42 seconds into the second period. Shortly after, DU defenseman Zeev Buium set up Rieger Lorenzo for a goal, extending the lead to 2-0.

With Davis conceding only three goals in four NCAA tournament games, his exceptional performance sealed the victory for the Pioneers.

“Can I share a humorous anecdote?” John Davis, the goalie’s father, interjected. “Before a game during the NCAA tournament in Massachusetts, we were seated near the end of the rink where DU players were warming up. A shot hit the crossbar, bounced into the stands, and Kathleen caught the puck directly on her shoulder, a perfect rebound that landed at her feet…”

“And,” Kathleen chimed in to conclude her partner’s narrative, in a manner typical of long-married couples, “I exclaimed: ‘Hey, I made the first save of the tournament!’

Perceiving it as a good omen, members of the DU hockey community began bringing stuffed pucks to tournament games, tossing them at Kathleen for good luck as the Pios took to the ice.

“I caught every single one,” she affirmed.

Like mother, like son.

Back in Colorado, as DU students commenced their celebratory revelry, the street in front of the campus was closed for safety measures. On this remarkable night in his hockey career, Davis’s exceptional performance even led to the closure of Buchtel Boulevard.

Could the Colorado Avalanche secure his services before the playoffs commence?

In the illustrious history of DU hockey, he will forever be remembered as Matty Ice.

Yet, to Kathleen Davis, he will always be her beloved son.

“I love you!” exclaimed Matty Ice, his voice trembling with emotion, as he saluted his mother from the glass. “I will love you always, Mom!”