Vaughn CHL Goalie of Week: Cougars Rookie Edmonds
Ty Edmonds is off to a great start in his young Western Hockey League career.
The Prince George Cougars rookie was named the Vaughn Canadian Hockey League today Goaltender of the Week after posting a 2-1-0-0 record that included two shutout wins, a microscopic 0.34 goals-against-average and a near-perfect save percentage of .988.
“It’s definitley a great start and I’m very happy with it. I don’t want ot jinx myself but I couldn’t imagine a better start for myself,” Edmonds told InGoal Magazine. “And I have to give a lot of credit ot my team as well. When I have been in net, they have been awesome blcoking shots, and getting the puck out. We’ve killed off almost 20 penalties in a row now so they’ve been on fire, not just myself but the team as well.”
Spoken like a true veteran, always being sure to spread the credit when things go well.
They are certainly going well now for the 17-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Edmonds made 81 saves and allowed just one goal in three games last week. It began with his first career WHL shutout last Tuesday as the First Star of a 31-save, 2-0 home win over the Victoria Royals. The next night his 23-save performance earned him Second Star honours but the Cougars dropped a 1-0 decision to the Royals. Then on Saturday, Edmonds recorded his second shutout of the week and his career, once again getting the nod as First Star after making 27 saves in a 3-0 win over the Kamloops Blazers.
Playing in his first WHL season with the Cougars after being a ninth-round pick of the club in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, Edmonds is third among all WHL goalies with a goals-against-average of 1.68 and save percentage of .939 this season.
InGoal caught up with Edmonds after winning the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award to talk about his sizzling start, and quickly discovered that familiarity with his new goaltending coach has helped with the adjustment from Junior A in Manitoba, to Major Junior in northern British Columbia.
Edmonds said he works with GDI Prairies back home in Manitoba, particularly with Dan Ferguson who is the goalie coach for Steinback Pistons in the MJHL, and Ryan Cyr, who doubles as the goalie coach for Spokane Chiefs in the WHL. His new goalie consultant in Prince George, Justin Cardinal, works at GDI Alberta.
“He’s close with the guys I work with back home and teaches the same type of technique, same type of systems, same type of movements GDI at home implements for me, so it’s really easy for me to adjust because he’s teaching me everything that I’ve already been taught,” Edmonds said, adding he has worked with GDI in Manitoba for “six or seven” years. “So it’s basically like working with the guys back home, and he’s helped me out a lot, we go over film when he’s here. So I have them to lean on back home, and now I have him to lean on here.”
There have been adjustments for Edmonds moving up to the WHL – and so far from home.
“I am aabout 2,100 miles away from home in Winnipeg, but I have great billets and the team is great. It’s a hard adjstewmtn but once you get the hang of it it is a pretty godo feelign and almost like a second home,” Edmonds said.
On the ice, the pace of play and velocity of shots has also required some adjusting.
“I played Junior A last year in Manitoba so it definitely gave me some help jumping up this season, but obviously the pace and the shots are a lot faster and harder and you got to stay a lot more calm and compact,” Edmonds said. “If you are sprawling all over the place you are not going to have success because there are going to be a lot of open nets. But as long as you are calm and have the right depth you are going to face the shot better and it’s helped me adjust and helped give me success so far.”
For Edmonds, who compares his style to Jonathan Quick, that is an ongoing evolution.
Finding the right depth and playing a slightly calmer style – without surrendering that compete – is the key for Edmonds.
“It’s definitely something I had to work on,” he said. “Back home my goaltender coach and me work a lot on the little things and being calm is something I’ve tried to work on the last couple summers and once I work on it and get more adjusted now that it’s in my game, then it helps out a lot. It takes a lot of time to get used to it but once you get into it, and you can use it in your style of play, it helps tremendously.
“If I can use my depth and my size, then there is not a lot to shoot at, so if I can give the shooter a chance where I can come out on top of my crease and make him shoot and miss the net , or put it right into my body then it’s a lot easier for me than staying deep in my crease and trying to make a reaction save, or making a split save across the crease. But you have to make sure you are watching. If he’s in the middle of the circle you can’t be out to the bottom of the circle because you have to be watching the back door. it’s hard to get used to, but once you find your style of play and what makes you successful it’s a to easier to do.”
Edmonds said his ideal depth is atop the crease.
“I’d say heels out, usually I try to get the heels over top of the red and out of the blue crease, that’s where i try to be, but it’s all situational and depends on what’s going on,” he said. “If there’s a play down low you have to watch your depth because you have always have to watch the backdoor play or the next play a shooter can make. They aren’t always going to shoot, they can throw it backdoor for a wide open net so you always have control your depth, for sure.”
Asked is he was a little deeper before, Edmonds said, “A tad bit. I’ve always tried to play as far out as I could, but when you get to higher levels and you don’t play much before, you don’t have as much confidence as you would like, but once you start getting in, the more confident you get, the more comfortable you feel coming out and using that depth. And then once you gain that confidence you can help use that to make the saves a lot easier.”
As for staying in the zone that allowed him to win this week’s Vaughn CHL award, Edmonds said the key is not trying to change anything.
“I just try to play the same style, I don’t try to mix things up, don’t decide one game to play on the goal line or one game decide to play out or do something different with my glove and blocker,” he said. “I just play the way I have been trained, the way I have been taught, and when I get into a game I usually just try to get the first five minutes over with, and if I can get the first period over with smoothly and feel the puck and get the saves going, I feel pretty comfortable after that. But it’s just a matter of getting the first couple minutes out of the way I find, and playing how I usually do and not changing anything up.”
One thing he’ll happily change up – but not quite yet – is the new set of Vaughn V5 vintage pads that just arrived.
“I just got my new set of V5 vetical stitch vintage pads but I’m going to wait a couple weeks to use those,” he said. “I have the V5 right now already and I’ve been using Vaughn my whole life, and I’ve never had a single complaints, it’s a great company.”
Appropriately it’s also the company that welcomes Edmonds to the WHL: As the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week.
Also considered for the award this week was Philippe Cadorette of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar who won two games with a goals-against-average of 2.00 and save percentage of .927, while Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 17-year-old rookie Brandon Halverson earned a 32-save shutout victory in his first career OHL start Saturday night in a 4-0 win over the Belleville Bulls.
2013-14 Vaughn CHL Goaltenders of the Week:
Sept. 23 – Sept. 29: Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth Whalers), read the interview here
Sept. 19 – Sept. 22: Sebastien Auger (Saint John Sea Dogs)