So it's late in the hockey season in Bitty's senior year. Samwell won the Frozen Four, and they are home, happy, and preparing for finals. The Falconers have their playoff spot nearly secured, just two more games! As the game is just before finals, BUT after winning the frozen four SMH's season is done.
An errant puck injures Falconers’ secondary goalie to the face. He'll be fine but minor concussion protocols. Snowy is healthy, but they only have one goalie, and the NHL won't let them play without a second one ready to suit up.
The Falconers are playing at home for three games. They've played one and have two more before a long roadie. Their farm team is on a roadie, so The Falconers can't call up one of the goalies from the team.
The secondary goalie was injured in the first game of the stay. It's that night when the Falcs find out that he won't play for at least two weeks. They can get a goalie for the next roadie because, by that time, their farm team would be back but the next two nights - no goalie. The Falc’s prefer in-house but currently have no goalie trained people.
There is some concern in the locker room after the game. They need to win two more games. The playoffs were not secured for the Falconers, and the team is hungry for a second run at the cup. The game, with the injured goalie, is a loss.
The coaches and the players are all talking about it. Jack, Snowy, Thirdy, and Marty are in a huddle trying to figure out if the coaching staff can take the EBUG space for two games.
George is trying to get a hold of the coaching staff of the farm team because, For a moment, it looks like getting a red-eye flight for the farm team goalie, who is out in CA and doing fantastic work, but was very inconsistent is best. It's not, the farm team needs wins too, plus the goalies are still playing a long game that had gone into overtime already. the guy would be exhausted.
They are all worried for a moment when George gets off the phone. Then George sees Jack. Then George gets a look in her eye and turned towards Jack.
"Can you get your samwell coaches on the phone?" She asks, "Chow would be a good EBUG."
Jack isn't prone to smiling that broadly.
It makes his fellow A's step back in surprise. Bitty would have to be around for that to occur usually. Tater remembers Chowder, knows he's a good NCAA D1 goalie, and thinks that this is an excellent choice for EBUG.
The Emergency Back-Up Goalie, the person who would go in for Snowy, should he go down was going to be one Chris Chow.
Rules that (I made up) are that an NCAA player can play and not mess up the NCAA eligibility if its a 'try out' contract. Max length: seven days; no payment allowed. But 'grants' are usually given to the school to pay for the next year/semester. Their season is complete. And Samwell just won the frozen four.
Jack calls Bitty, who puts the coaches on a group phone call, and they all agree, Chowder could play as EBUG.
Bitty wakes up Chowder from where he crashed after a date. Chowder, the sweet goalie child, is ECSTATIC, and almost can't breathe from excitement. HE GETS TO BE EBUG.
Now for as much as Chowder LOVES hockey, he also isn't expecting to make it to the NHL, hence why he was at Samwell getting a degree. So being offered to be the Faloncers EBUG is almost as good as playing himself. ITS A DREAM COME TRUE. (if only it were the Sharks... but Chowder will not look a gift horse in the mouth.)
George gets his coaches on the phone separately, filling out the necessary paperwork, and making arrangements for Chowder's gear. Absolutely no one during this process cares that it's like eleven at night by the time all is said and done.
The long story short is Chowder is playing as the EBUG for two games and two practices.
Bitty gets Chowder to Providence that night. He will stay with Jack for the whole thing.
Chowder didn't say a word for like 20 minutes of the drive. Then he freaked out for the rest of the trip. Bitty couldn't help but laugh, despite it being after midnight. he's so proud of Chowder. (also, Chowder crashed hard when they got to Jack's, so there is that. he's well-rested!)
In the morning, before he drove in with Jack to the practice rink, Chowder called EVERYONE. his parents promise to make sure to see the game. But they can't make it to the east coast that soon.
His girlfriend is in another car and is heading up to the game with SMH. The Haus guys get EVERYONE in the SMH to the game in Providence to watch the game. Haus 2.0 gets to the game too. Jack happily pays for all the tickets. There may have been some favors called in from the Lax bros for rides, but that's another story between Whiskey, Tango, and Foxtrot, and they aren't sharing.
The games are the next night and the night after. Chowder is going to be the EBUG for both. Now, (please note this, because it's crucial!!) no one actually expects Chowder to play. He's the EBUG. He'll dress up, take practice, and sit on the bench for two games. That's what tends to happen. The likelihood he'll play is small. But he’ll get a jersey, say he’s officially been listed on the roster for two NHL games and have a ‘sawsome story to tell.
So Chowder goes over to the practice rink where he signs a two-day contract as EBUG, then takes practice with the Falconers.
The thing is, now that the Falconers have practiced with him, they understand why Zimmboni was so damned impressed with this over-excited kid. SMH is used to him. He chats with the pucks, but won’t touch them barehanded, won't look at the other team before they all hit the ice, and is very loud. Jack is used to him; the Falconers weren't sure.
THEN they can't get one past him.
He's Chowder. He plays .
Snowy is already drafting the argument for the scouts to stay at Samwell for the next two years.
Jack stays by him when he isn't on the ice because Chowder is prone to over worrying about the game if he can't get the energy out productively.
SO THE GAME
Snowy remains in the first period. Then at the start of the second, one of the Ranges gets knocked over at high speeds and takes him out BY accident!!
But Snowy's ankle is terrible. Like this is at least a week off the ice, bad.
The coaches take one look at the ankle, then at each other before turning to Chowder. Who just realized that he was going to play at least two periods. In the NHL. As EBUG.
SO the Falconers have to put Chowder in.
And the Rangers don't score after that.
They don’t take Chowder seriously at first; the first few shots weren’t even that challenging. Chowder glares at them, demanding they actually try.
Jack laughs, actually laughs, when the ranger who took the next face-off kept throwing bemused looks at the goal.
With every blocked shot, Chowder got more comfortable and falls deeper in goalie mode. Jack just kept on smiling. This blows like everyone but SMH's minds. (Who, by the way, is calling EVERY ONE of Chowder's friends. Bitty wasn't sure that Farmer could yell that loud, but apparently, Chowder made a proper hokey fan out of her so...)
Falconers win by one; the final score was 1-3 toward the Falconers. That one was allowed by snowy when he hurt his ankle. Chowder had a shut out despite so many shots on goal.
Bitty cries. Farmer cries. In California, Chris chow's parents are also crying, but they are also booking tickets to fly out that night to see their son play in the NHL.
SMH gets tickets to the next game, which is against the Bruins.
Farmer was the only one allowed into the locker room with bitty. The rest of SMH understands. Its’ Chowder , Dex and nursy both give farmer instructions to fist bump chowder for them.
Chowder takes the proxy fistbumps with a smile.
Chowder is a goalie, superstitious and only talks to his parents, his girlfriend, and Jack and Bitty. The Falconers said they wouldn't allow press on him until the next night. He chooses not to go out and celebrate. He’s got one more game to play.
He crashes hard when Jack, Bitty, and he get back to Jack’s apartment. Jack understands that and made sure that there is a bottle of Gatorade nearby for him later.
(meanwhile, the Bruins realize they are about to play against an EBUG with a shut out. Only a few of their players seem to take this seriously and review the tape of Chowder playing. This is their mistake.)
When Chowder skates out at the next game, the stadium explodes with sound. His play made the local news, and Providence has come out to see him and the Falconers, especially since the falconers are so close to playoffs.
The first and second periods are busy, but Chowder lets nothing through. He plays like a beast, and he shoves at least two of the Bruins away to keep the puck from going in. The Bruins are aggressive, but Chowder does not care. He’s going to play his best for his team.
If the Falconers win this game, they make it to the playoffs.
If the Bruins win this game, they make it to the playoffs.
The Falcs have Chowder.
It's clear by the end of the second period that while the other team is exhausted because they have been trying hard to get past him. Chowder just plays his best hockey. In the end, Chowder is just having fun.
The Bruins choose to put one more man on the ice and pull the goalie in the third. The score is 0-2 in favor of the Falconers.
Jack needs one more goal for this third hat trick of the season.
While the extra forward helps because Chowder is now flinging himself around the net in ways that even SMH wasn’t sure he could do, it doesn’t change that none of the shots go in.
But Chowder needs to have a breather so in a desperate play to get the puck away from himself and the other team; Chowder flings the damn puck to the other side of the ice with his stick.
So, in his first two NHL appearances, as an EBUG, Chris Chow gets not only two shut outs, but also scores.
Because Chowder, like most goalies, has practiced getting goalie goals.
(it’s about now that George turns off her phone to prevent a bunch of other GM/AGM’s from calling her asking about this kid. She makes a note to tell Chow’s parents that they need to get him an agent.)
It's just that Chowder didn't expect actually to make it work? He just wanted to move the puck so that so Jack could get a hat trick.
Jack may or may not lose it at that - he got to Chowder first. SMH and like 50% of non-hockey playing Samwell LOSES THEIR SHIT.
The FALCONERS LOSE THEIR SHIT. Like Chowder disappeared under the entire team. The CELLY is massive for both the on-ice Falconers and the SMH team in the stands.
Chowder's parents, up in the box with Farmer, George, and fucking BAD BOB, who heard what was happening and came down for fun, also LOSE THEIR SHIT.
Collectively, no one had it together for at least a minute.
Then there are thirty seconds left on the board, and let me tell you, the Falcs keep that puck away from the Bruins like it was the best game of keep away ever.
Jack gets his hat trick. But he does. Not. Care.
It's a shut out for Chowder. Like he is the man of the hour. (every time the press is like: ‘Jack? Hat trick?’ Jack is like: ‘Chris Chow, SMH, shut out and a goal. EBUG.’ then the press is like: ‘ah. Ok.’ )
Also, every fucking scout is now after Chowder. The Sharks are definitely interested.
The Falconers are celebrating because they are going to the playoffs again!!! It's thanks to CHOWDER.
It's like the best play. It makes news.
At the presser, after the game, Chowder looks at the press like they are the enemy. He looks at Jack like he's Chowder's captain and so Jack stays with him. He gets asked like thirty questions and does his best to answer them all.
By the way, snowy’s proposal to scout Chowder is already typed up and handed to George. He wants this kid the moment he graduates.
George is already ahead of him and has spoken to Chowder’s parents about some essential things, and bad bob also has given them like three agents’ contact info.
Bitty shows up with his parents, Farmer, and all of them are crying. Chowder gets the puck and cries. Really though, jack just handed chowder’s parents the puck because Chowder won’t touch them barehanded, but he cries none the less.
When asked his plans because NHL IS calling already, (like George has already fielded like fifteen phone calls about 'who is this kid,' and 'can I have his agent's number?????")
Chowder says he has to finish school - He promised his mom.
(they eventually go with jack’s agent because of experience with NCAA athletes. He signs with the Sharks, but the falconer’s jersey is a prized possession.) (he’s a Shark for life.)