KIJHL Notebook: Team Goaltending
By Emanuel Sequeira
As the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) ends the Christmas Break, with the Fernie Ghostriders taking on the Kimberley Dynamiters this evening at the Civic Centre, this week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses on how each team’s goalie tandems have performed.
Eddie Mountain Division
The Columbia Valley Rockies have 15 wins and head coach Briar McNaney loves that their goaltending has the ability to make saves in big moments. The Rockies outshoot the opposition every period – they have allowed 707 shots on the season.
“They need to make big time saves on breakaways, penalty kills, things like that, which is typically tough for goaltenders to do when you have a team that outshoots the other team and doesn’t allow a whole lot of shots,” said McNaney.
Trystan Self has 11 of the Kimberley Dynamiters’ 14 wins. Matt Fleet has two, while Rylan Labrie has the other. Self has four shutouts, and the Dynamiters’ goalies have combined for a 2.03 goals against average and .928 save percentage.
“Trystan and Matt have been very good for us this season. They’re a big reason why our goals against is third best in the league,” said Dynamiters head coach and general manager Derek Stuart. “Trystan is a very quick, agile goalie and his positioning is elite. Matt is very good as well, but I think the biggest difference is Trystan is playing like a veteran even though he started the season with just two more games played in the league than Matt.”
Stuart added that Self practiced with the team all last season and worked extremely hard and believes he got a lot better despite COVID-19 shutting games down in November. With Fleet, Stuart really likes his attitude.
“He knows he’s the backup, but he still pushes Trystan in practices and games,” said Stuart. “Matt accepts his role as the backup, but I also think Trystan knows that the coaches are very confident with Matt in net too, so he needs to bring his best every day.”
The Fernie Ghostriders have 13 wins with eight belonging to McCoy Bidewell, who was signed by the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. Dylan Lacroix, who joined the team from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, has five wins. He is sharing the crease with Jesse Schindel. head coach and general manager Ty Valin said his goaltending has been really good. Since Bidewell’s departure, the Ghostriders new tandem has combined for a 2.36 GAA and .933 SP.
“Both guys are really competitive and they want to win every night,” said Valin.
Joining the Ghostriders from the SJHL, there was a transition for Lacroix with a different style of game.
“The biggest thing I’ve liked about him, obviously other than his ability to stop the puck, is the way he competes and battles every day. He kept competing everyday to get better,” said Valin, adding that his work is paying off.
Being younger, Schindel is putting in the work and is learning from Lacroix.
“Dylan has been a great mentor for him, just like McCoy was,” he said, “it’s a very good tandem of goaltenders that we’ve had.”
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have 12 wins with six by veteran goalie Carlos Siso and five from Harmon Laser-Hume, who is now with the Nipawin Hawks of the SJHL. Brendan Lloyd has the other win. Head coach and general manager Bill Rotheisler said losing a goalie like Laser-Hume is almost impossible to fully replace, and they were fortunate to trade for Siso at the start of the year and made the trade because of their confidence in Laser-Hume’s ability to move on to Junior A. They brought in Lloyd, who he says has been fantastic. Rotheisler says the dynamics in the crease has changed where Siso is their guy.
“He’s really stepped up to the plate,” said Rotheisler of Siso, who has a 2.78 GAA and .918 SP.
Rotheisler says that Lloyd understands his role is to support Siso.
“He works hard everyday and we’re always open to him taking a bigger slice of the pie,” he says. “He’s got to earn it. He has certainly done it off the ice and in practice and he really gets better everyday here.”
The Golden Rockets have eight wins with Michael O’Sullivan (five) and Levi Hall (three). The tandem has combined for a .921 SP and a 3.18 GAA. Head coach and general manager Chuck Wight says their goaltending has been solid throughout the first half of the season.
“We have received consistent play from our goalies and some timely saves that have kept us in many games,” said Wight.
“Having internal competition has been good for all of our goalies. The level of performance is high in practice and that makes the compete level go up for all our goalies and players.”
Kimberley and Fernie are right back at it tomorrow, Dec. 29, with a 7 p.m. clash at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
Columbia Valley is back in action Friday, Dec. 31 against the Golden Rockets – in Canal Flats. Game time is 7:30 p.m.