TORONTO — Sixty-four seconds into the sport, Logan Couture finds Timo Meier between the hash marks, who one-times the primary shot of recreation and first confronted by Michael DiPietro within the NHL into the again of the online.
Two minutes and 18 seconds later, Evander Kane lofts a shoulder-high backhand towards the cage that Ben Hutton tries to glove and unintentionally suggestions previous DiPietro.
Then at eight:48, Melker Karlsson redirects some extent shot from Brent Burns close to the crease by way of DiPietro.
That was simply the primary ten minutes of the primary interval.
The Vancouver Canucks would go on to lose the Feb. 11 recreation to the San Jose Sharks by a rating of 7-2, with the 19-year-old from Windsor, Ont., being charged with all seven targets.
It was not the NHL debut DiPietro had imagined, however it could have been for the perfect.
The 2017 third-round decide (64th total) was initially summoned on an emergency call-up from the OHL after backup Thatcher Demko sprained his knee, however was pressured into motion after starter Jacob Markstrom needed to sit out with a lower-body damage and the staff’s different depth choices fell by way of.
DiPietro stated the expertise gave him a harsh dose of actuality, which has motivated him to get off to a shocking begin to his first professional season with the AHL’s Utica Comets.
“That’s a troublesome recreation. While you’re dreaming about taking part in within the NHL as a bit child, particularly as a goaltender, you’re dreaming about that 50-save shutout your first recreation and stuff like that, and clearly that didn’t occur,” he stated Saturday after beating the Toronto Marlies Four-Three.
“However that was in all probability the perfect factor for me, wanting again on it, as a result of it actually opened up my eyes to what the professional recreation’s about, and I owe not simply the gamers, however the teaching employees with how understanding they have been and ensuring that I proceed to develop my recreation. So it’s been a protracted eight months, however I feel it’s been fairly good.”
“Fairly good” is likely to be an understatement.
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The now 20-year-old boasts a 7-Three-1 document with a sterling 2.22 goals-against common and a .923 save share within the AHL, each tops amongst rookie netminders and good for sixth and eighth total of their respective classes.
However when it got here to his NHL debut final season, DiPietro stated he felt a wave of tension earlier than the sport regardless of being within the midst of one other stable season in junior.
“It was after the morning skate and I used to be simply stretching within the fitness center, and proper earlier than I hopped within the bathe the goalie coach got here in he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re taking part in tonight,’ I’m like ‘Oh,’” recalled DiPietro, a Memorial Cup winner in 2017 and the 2017-18 OHL goalie of the 12 months.
“Like the guts sinks and then you definitely begin worrying and every part, and protected to say I didn’t actually sleep a lot that afternoon that’s for certain.”
DiPietro stated he used the nightmare debut to push himself to get higher over the summer time and to work towards making it again to the NHL.
Particularly, he stated it made him understand how a lot he wanted to enhance his cardio and that as a goaltender he can’t simply monitor the puck within the defensive zone, however he must be watchful over each play.
Canucks ahead Antoine Roussel witnessed DiPietro’s mauling by the hands of the Sharks firsthand, and stated it could have been “the perfect factor that occurred to him.” He’s been struck by the teen’s new strategy to the sport.
“The way in which he carries himself: he’s first on the rink, first on the ice and he’s virtually the final man to depart each time. He’s only for 20 years outdated, so skilled and that angle will carry him a good distance, so I’m very impressed. I can’t look forward to him to develop and get extra video games, it’s worthwhile to play and that’s what he’s doing, and since I’ve been right here, he’s freaking 2-Zero,” stated Roussel, who was with the Comets on a conditioning stint.
“…However the best way he works, the sky is restrict.”
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As DiPietro shines within the AHL, Demko, 23, and Markstrom, 29, have tended the twine with success for an upstart Canucks (13-10-Four) membership full of potential, giving the staff enviable depth on the place.
And DiPietro stays content material plying his commerce with the Comets.
“I’m 20 years outdated and I simply wish to proceed to get higher as a goaltender, get expertise, get video games and play,” he stated.
“My purpose is taking part in within the NHL, at any time when that day comes will likely be an awesome day, however I’m not wanting too far forward.”
Markstrom’s three-year, $11-million take care of the Canucks is about to run out within the low season and there may very well be some video games up for grabs in Vancouver subsequent 12 months.
Whereas DiPietro is aware of he’d higher ready for his subsequent NHL begin, he’s in no rush to make it occur once more, but.
“My consolation stage and understanding what to anticipate will likely be a complete lot totally different (than) what occurred my first recreation. I assume I’m immersed within the professional recreation now, so I form of know roughly what to anticipate — however I feel I’m prepared at any time when referred to as upon,” he stated.
“However that being stated, I wish to deal with my time right here, deal with honing my abilities and ensuring I’m doing the best issues every day to make me a profitable professional for a really very long time.”