It’s been said that you never get a second chance at a first impression.
Spencer Tremblay disagrees.
The new starting goaltender for the Chilliwack Chiefs made his BCHL debut Friday night in a game against the Victoria Grizzlies — a debut that was… not so great.
Three goals against in the first period, two falling into the softie category.
“Obviously tough,” he said, assessing his first 20 minutes. “The first one was alright, but the next two were average. Not great at all, actually. I just missed the puck.”
During the intermission, 1,498 fans in attendance were asking themselves, ‘This guy is the solution to our goalie problem?’
In the locker room, the 19-year-old Winnipeg native was trying to collect himself.
“I was telling myself to settle down a bit,” the goalie said. “It’s my third year in junior so I shouldn’t have been so nervous.”
Tremblay was better for the rest of the game, giving up one goal on 25 shots.
But the Chiefs lost 4-3 and the whole thing seemed like more of the same.
On to Saturday night then and a quick turnaround against the high-flying Coquitlam Express.
A team that has no trouble putting pucks in nets, the most potent offence in the BCHL fired 45 shots at Tremblay.
One, just one, got by him.
His Chiefs won 6-1 and he was named second star.
Tremblay was big, calm and efficient and made it look easy.
“It was a really good team effort and probably the easiest 45 shot game I’ve ever had,” he said. “A lot of shots were from the outside, so I can’t take any credit for it.”
It is worth giving the small sample-size warning.
Lyndon Stanwood, the goalie who appears to be the odd man out with Tremblay’s arrival, was just as capable of turning in 44 save outings.
All too often though, he’d follow outstanding outings with poor ones, and you never knew which was coming on any given night.
The biggest thing Tremblay can do to win the faith of his new teammates is to be consistent — make the saves he should, and a handful he shouldn’t, and give his team a chance to win every night.
“I like to look calm even if I’m not always calm inside,” he said. “I’m a big presence (six-foot-one and 185 pounds) with decent rebound control. I don’t mind a lot of shots either.”
Tremblay should be a motivated guy.
His recent resume reads like a road map of Canada.
“I played a full season with Moose Jaw (WHL) as a 17 year old, and a half season as an 18 year old,” he said. “They let me go and I ended up with Moncton (QMJHL) for a bit. I spent some time with Red Deer (WHL) last season before tearing my MCL.”
An injury that was originally supposed to sideline him 10 days pushed him out for four months.
Tremblay ended up in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this year, playing with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines.
“I’d like to stay in one place, obviously, for a couple weeks,” he deadpanned.
Because he’s 19, Tremblay could be Chilliwack’s main man in net through this season and next.
And though he’s playing for a team that currently sports a 6-15-1-2 record, he believes he’s joined an excellent group.
“The offensive skill is really good and our D are steady back there,” he said. “The record is hard to believe, but if we can string some games together like the one we played tonight, we should be good.”
Kyle Westeringh (more on him Thursday) had two goals in the win over Coquitlam, with Carter Cochrane, Austin Plevy, Mathieu Tibbet and Eric Roberts picking up singles.
The Chiefs are on the road Friday night, visiting the West Kelowna Warriors (13-8-0-2). They’re home Saturday night at 7 p.m., hosting the Langley Rivermen (14-8-1-2).