There have been some excellent performances from major junior goalies across the country so far this season, and so for this week’s power rankings, we focus in on 10 of the best that deserve some more time in the spotlight.
10. Matthew Welsh (Charlottetown Islanders): Oct. 14, 2017 vs. Acadie Bathurst Titan
Welsh made 40 saves in a 4-3 overtime win. The Islanders took a 1-0 lead into the second period, where the Titan turned the Tides scoring three goals in an eight-minute span to take the lead. Welsh turned aside the next 15 shots to send it to overtime.
When that didn’t decide it, he stopped all three shooters in the shootout, including Anaheim prospect Antoine Morand, and projected first-rounder Noah Dobson who combined for 16 shots during the game.
9. Griffen Outhouse (Victoria Royals): Sept. 23, 2017 vs. Vancouver Giants
The Victoria Royals opened their season with a 7-1 win over Vancouver at home and both teams travelled to Vancouver to complete the home-and-home. Outhouse was removed for the final eight minutes of the opening-night route to stay rested for the second game.
And it worked, as the Giants came back and peppered Outhouse with 47 shots. They were held to just one goal in the second period as the Royals went on to the 6-1 win. Hey, Outhouse even took a penalty in the third period.
8. Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires): Oct. 6, 2017 vs. Guelph Storm
Can’t have a top goaltending performance without including 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Michael DiPietro. With a drastically different looking, less experienced Spitfires lineup, DiPietro had a lot of pressure on him to start the season. Six Guelph power plays led to the lone Storm goal this game, which came late in the third to break-up the shutout as DiPietro stopped 45 of 46 shots to earn first star honours.
7. Cole Kehler (Portland Winterhawks): Oct. 10, 2017 vs. Spokane Chiefs
The Chiefs sent 19 shots Kehler’s way in the second period alone. With the shutout just 20 minutes away, the Winterhawks gave Spokane three third period power plays, which led to another dozen shots.
None of them got passed Kehler, who stopped all 43 Portland shots. Last season he finished fifth in minutes and shots on goal and again he has been a busy young man this season, seeing more than 40 shots in three of his 12 starts.
6. Antoine Samuel (Baie-Comeau Drakkar): Oct. 1, 2017 vs. Sherbrooke Phoenix
Named first star in a 4-3 shootout win over Sherbrooke, Samuel faced 22 shots in the first period alone and allowed just one Phoenix strike. The workload lessened as Sherbrooke tied the game with two third-period markers, but Samuel stopped all four overtime shots and two more in the shootout to seal the win.
Sherbrooke totalled 49 shots on Samuel, who has started only one game this season in which he’s seen fewer than 32 shots.
5. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard (Kitchener Rangers): Sept. 23, 2017 vs. Sarnia Sting
Hard to imagine a 20-9-1-1 record, 2.76 GAA and .906 SP stat line wouldn’t fly somewhere in the QMJHL.
Waived through that league, Dumont-Bouchard was claimed by OHL Barrie before being dealt to Kitchener. It’s never easy to change leagues, especially so quickly, but that’s what Dumont-Bouchard was faced with in an opening night start against Sarnia.
In stopping 37 of 38 shots, the only blemish was a Jordan Ernst power play marker late in the first period. Dumont-Bouchard and the Rangers were the only team to beat Sarnia through the Sting’s first 16 games.
4. Logan Flodell (Swift Current Broncos): Oct. 10, 2017 vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes
In a pre-season trade with division rival Saskatoon the Broncos netted overage netminder Flodell, who had a winning record on the fifth-worst team in the league in 2016-17. Flodell was named third star and turned aside 45 of 47 shots in this great game against Lethbridge. The only two goals Lethbridge scored came on the power play, with one of those on the back end of a 5-on-3. Of the 47 Hurricanes shots, 38 of them were taken in the first 40 minutes.
3. Anthony Popovich (Guelph Storm): Oct. 29, 2017 vs. London Knights
A seventh-round OHL pick, Popovich got into 30 games for a young Guelph team during the 2016-17 season and posted a 4.61 GAA and .876 save percentage. Popovich has started 15 of Guelph’s first 17 games this season, but none were better than his 37-save performance at home against the London Knights, which gave him his first career OHL shutout. The win ended London’s modest four-game win streak.
2. Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips): Oct. 29, 2017 vs. Portland Winterhawks
As one of five injury replacements for Carter Hart in Everett, the 16-year old Wolf stopped 44 of 46 Portland shots to pick up his second win in as many tries. The Tustin, California native gave up a goal just over two minutes into the game before stymying the second-highest scoring team in the WHL the rest of the way. The workload was steady as Portland spread out its 46 shots evenly over three periods. Best part is, he didn’t even earn one of the three stars.
1. Etienne Montpetit (Val d’Or Foreurs): Nov. 1, 2017 vs. Rimouski Oceanic
Montpetit allowed just three goals on 53 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. The overage goalie stonewalled all 21 of the second period shots from the Oceanic. Rimouski had the puck all game as evidenced by a 70 per cent win rate in the faceoff dot. What makes the Foreurs’ win even more impressive is that they tied the game with just 45 seconds left with an empty net and then won it in overtime with just 32 seconds remaining.