This edition of THW’s Goalie News will cover strong starts from Andrei Vasilevskiy and Petr Mrazek, as well as Petr Čech’s goalie helmet and a brilliant weekend from a college hockey goalie.
Vasilevskiy Stands Tall
Last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are scuffling early in the 2019-20 season. Some of that has to do with the struggles of last year’s Vezina Trophy winner Vasilevskiy. Prior to Tuesday’s start, he was 2-1, but he’d posted a .903 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.04 goals against average (GAA).
Though the Lightning defense wasn’t strong on Tuesday, Vasilevskiy may have righted the ship. He faced 34 Montreal Canadiens shots and stopped all but one of them, and the goal he allowed was on the power play when Jeff Petry scored on a wicked one-timer.
It was Vasilevskiy’s only miss in a tough matchup in which the Canadiens controlled over 61 percent of the play according to Natural Stat Trick’s Corsi for percentage numbers. Everything may not yet be rosy for the Lightning, but if Vasilevskiy is playing at his best, he can cover over a lot of wounds and help one of the best teams in the league get back on its feet.
Mrazek’s First No-no
There are tougher lives to live than being a Carolina Hurricanes goalie. There isn’t always a lot of work behind that sterling defense, and both Mrazek and James Reimer are beneficiaries. However, until Tuesday, Mrazek had still struggled somewhat, allowing eight goals on 68 shots for an .882 SV%.
Fortunately for him, he had the Los Angeles Kings on the docket Tuesday, and their lack of firepower helped him to his first shutout of the season. It wasn’t too easy, though. He still had to turn aside 31 shots, and protect a one-goal lead in the final minute with the Kings on the power play. Mrazek became just the sixth NHL goalie with a shutout in the 2019-20 season.
The shutout propelled the red-hot Hurricanes to a 6-1 record and the most points in the NHL on the young season. There will still be questions about whether a tandem of Mrzaek and Reimer is strong enough to get the Hurricanes where they want to go, but behind a defense that good, the answer may be a resounding yes.
Recently in THW’s Goalie News, we discussed the hockey debut of legendary soccer goalkeeper Petr Čech. The 37-year-old native of Plzen in the Czech Republic decided to try his hand at ice hockey, debuting for the Guildford Phoenix and winning Man of the Match honors for his performance.
Recently, we got a closer look at Čech’s new goalie mask, and it is one that should please both soccer and hockey fans alike. It pays tribute to the goalie’s career heritage as well as an icon from his home country.
On the left side of Čech’s mask is the logo for Chelsea, and the logo for Arsenal graces the right side. The two crests represent the teams on which Čech played in his 443 game Premier League career. But hockey fans will appreciate the face at the bottom of the mask, as it bears the image of legendary Czech goalkeeper Dominik Hašek. Čech has had a hot start to his hockey career, but if the on-ice option doesn’t work out, perhaps he should give mask design a go.
Nice Work, Chantal!
She doesn’t have a household name, but Chantal Burke had a heck of a week nonetheless. The Penn State Nittany Lion junior had back-to-back shutouts and earned College Hockey America’s Goalie of the Week award.
Burke was thrust into a starting role this season, but she’s handled herself well, and she posted back-to-back shutouts against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers, only the second time a Nittany Lions goalie has ever posted back-to-back shutouts. The honors were well deserved. Congratulations, Chantal!
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.