The Wild’s Charlie Coyle made a wizardly dash in the middle of Saturday’s third period. He put the puck over St. Louis goalie Jake Allen, the puck hit the crossbar, then Allen’s back, and was headed into the net to create a 2-2 tie.
The Blues’ David Backes reacted instantly to knock the puck away from the goal line. The Wild never did get the tie, and the Blues scored twice late for a 4-1 victory.
Backes’ heroic rescue came at roughly the same time Troy Merritt was putting out on No. 17 at the Harbor Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C. He would finish with a two-under 69 – following Friday’s astounding 61 – and carries a three-stroke lead into the final round of the RBC Heritage.
Backes is a 2002 graduate of Spring Lake Park High School. Merritt is a 2004 graduate of the same high school.
Backes played junior hockey in Lincoln, Neb. In the fall of 2001, returned to play that senior season for the Panthers, and went back to Lincoln at the end of his high school schedule. Meritt moved to Minnesota and enrolled at Spring Lake Park as a sophomore in 2001. He played basketball and golf.
Merritt was asked in a text on Saturday: “Did you know Backes well in high school?’’
This was Merritt’s response: “He was the big man on campus. I was two years younger and the new kid in school. He definitely wasn’t having anything to do with me.’’
Merritt, who is seeking his first PGA Tour victory in his 86th start, added: “Ha, ha … He was one of the best (if not the best) athletes in school.’’