Jack Concannon: The near-sighted netminder

By Lauren Merola | Aug 10, 2022

Jack Concannon knows what he wants.

The Atlas goalie wants to see the same number of bounce shots every warmup, with the same stick he’s precisely taped and re-taped – with the same tape – before every game this season.

He sits in the sauna every day he’s not between the pipes. He gets shot on once a week while back home in New York.

Like most goalies, come game time, he wants to see low-angle shots down the alley. He wants his defenders on the hands and bodies of the best shooters in the world. He prefers not to see Tom Schreiber or Grant Ament four feet from his face.

But unlike most goalies, close-range shots aren’t his kryptonite.

Over his professional career, Concannon saved 50.5% of shots from the doorstep. The League average is 37.2%.

When it comes to close-range shots, the 26-year-old employs the same strategy he learned at Hofstra.

“Sit, wait, react,” Concannon said. “I try to hold out for one explosive movement to the ball and get my entire stick there.”

This season, Concannon’s surpassed his doorstep-save career average, saving 54.2% of close-range shots compared to the League average of 33.0%.

“The things that stick out to me as I watch him in goal are his size – he takes up a lot of net [at 6’3”, 210 pounds] – and his athleticism,” Atlas coach Ben Rubeor said. “He’s strong. He’s got some serious quick-twitch muscles. He’s got an eye for the ball. He explodes to the ball.”

He’s also a talker.

Michael Rexrode said Concannon is a vocal leader, constantly talking his defense through plays and letting them know what shots he wants to see, and when. Atlas’ defense is a well-oiled machine, and everyone knows their role.

Rexrode said Atlas’ veteran, Tucker Durkin, is the quarterback of the defense and a coach on the field, while Cade van Raaphorst will often be on-ball but is also the main transition threat from the defensive end.

Rexrode is the cover guy, locking up dodgers and trying to minimize their scoring ability.

And Concannon?

“He’s like a second quarterback and second coach,” Rexrode said.

When the defense does get broken down – and leaves a wide-open Marcus Holman on the crease – Rexrode said he has “100% confidence” Concannon will bail them out.

“He’s the best goalie in the world,” Rexrode said. “Having a guy like that behind you gives you the confidence to play your game. You don’t feel as much pressure to prevent your guy from taking a shot because you know you have Jack there.”

If saves on the doorstep counted as caused turnovers, Rexrode said Concannon would be the team leader in the category.

“Jack’s the guy our defense trusts,” Rubeor said. “They’ve made it clear to me they believe in Jack back there.”

Concannon crowds the crease with composure, but “his intensity and focus are contagious,” Rexrode said.

It seems to be the balance needed to lead the League in doorstep saves and rank second in overall saves, stopping 55% of shots through Week 9, behind Kyle Bernlohr’s 57%.

After sustaining an injury that put his season in jeopardy at his alma mater on Long Island, N.Y. during the 2021 season, Concannon said he’s grateful any time he’s enclosed in that three-yard radius.

“The guy plays with a great combination of a lot of joy and a little anger,” Rubeor said. “It’s a difficult position, you’re taking hard shots, but you have to enjoy the success along the way. He gets fired up with the joy he plays with.”

Especially on those doorstep stops, shutting down the quickest and hardest shooters in the game.

“There are certain close shots where you really don’t stand a chance, but I look at it as a challenge,” Concannon said. “When I do see a shooter coming in close, I see it as an opportunity to steal one and make a highlight play. It’s a good opportunity for a goalie to showcase his skill and grab one from the offense that they’d usually get in and kind of get the team going with a big stop.”