Hall of Fame Inductee: Brian Dougherty
Eight-year-old Blaze Riorden would go to Rochester Rattlers games with his father. The roster was loaded with legends of the game: Ryan Powell. John Glatzel. Tim Soudan. Blaze gravitated toward one player in particular – the boisterous goaltender oozing confidence from within his crease, Brian Dougherty.
After Doc soaked one more-painful-than-usual shot with his lower body, he walked off the field, right past a young Blaze, watching him from behind the net.
“I remember the concern I felt toward Doc,” recalls Blaze. “And at that point I knew that he was my idol and I actually cared about him.”
Dougherty backstopped three MLL Championship defenses: The ‘03 Long Island Lizards and the ‘06-’07 Philadelphia Barrage, the first-ever back-to-back title winners. His competitive fire in those championships was unforgettable. In ‘03 Doc turned aside 28 shots, leading the Lizards to victory in overtime. In ‘06 his 62.7% save percentage anchored arguably the greatest defense of all-time, holding opponents to 22.6% shooting – a record in the pre-LSM era. And in ‘07 he fought through illness to return to the game for a back-and-forth battle.
Between the pipes, Doc was known for inventing the art of baiting shooters. He knew where the ball was going before the shooter knew. Former Barrage head coach Tony Resch credits Doc’s preparation. Resch believes to this day, if you asked Doc about a specific shooter from a certain spot on the field, he could tell you where the shooter was aiming for.
“I’ve never seen someone stand on their pipe for so long and invite a shooter to shoot somewhere – and then before the shot even got there, just step and catch the ball,” remembers Blaze.
Doc’s mind games with shooters were both physical and verbal.
“You wouldn’t think people would be talking smack when somebody’s lining up with a time-and-space 8-yard shot,” said Andy Towers. “To have the willingness to talk smack in real time and verbally pin the shooter and then make the stop… talk about having a condo in the heads of every player that played during the ‘90s and early 2000s.”
Matt Rambo – who maintains that Doc is the true King of Philly – witnessed his trash talk firsthand at a Maryland alumni game.
“Before we were even shooting the ball, he already was saying ‘CLEAR!’” laughs Rambo. “He knew he was gonna catch the ball and throw it up and out to someone.”
Doc’s relationship with Blaze has come full circle. The two coach together at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. Doc’s shots and words of wisdom prepare Blaze for PLL season.
Three MLL Championships, 1,003 saves, and a generation of goalies inspired. The first-ever goalie inducted into the Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame. That’s Doc’s legacy.