So, what’s the big deal?
Patrik Bartosak had a tough time Tuesday getting his head around the fact that he had been named both WHL and CHL goaltender of the week.
“Boys (teammates) told me in the morning I am goalie of the week but I didn’t know that,” said the Red Deer Rebels netminder, while wearing a grin. “I don’t know, it’s like I had two good games and I won goalie of the week, so it’s like . . . I don’t think it’s pretty hard to get that award.
“I was happy. I’m a rookie, but you have two games and now you win the award of best goalie of the WHL?”
The award was based on Bartosak’s performance in 4-1 wins over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats last Wednesday and Saturday. The 18-year-old from Ostrava, Czech Republic, turned aside a total of 56 shots while recording a .966 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average.
“I was happy when boys told me, but it’s just one week,” he said.
Bartosak, selected 59th overall in June’s CHL import draft, has been stellar for the Rebels as evidenced by his 5-2-0-0 record, 1.98 GAA and .933 save percentage to date.
“I’m happy with defence, I’m happy with the offence,” he said, reflecting more on the play of his teammates.
“Guys try to help me on the ice so much.
“I’m satisfied with play of defencemen.”
As for his own execution . . .
“I think it could be better. I have not let in so many goals, but I think I can let in less goals than I did,” said Bartosak, who will start tonight against the visiting Kamloops Blazers.
“There were bad goals. Some of them I could stop. But every day in practice I feel better and better.”
While Bartosak had to adjust to playing on a smaller ice surface this fall, he also found that his focus had to be sharper than perhaps was the case in the Czech Republic.
“When I came here I was surprised boys shot the puck from, like, anywhere,” he said. “I’m used to, like, stop the pucks from some places and not from all of the (defensive) zone. And everything is much quicker, faster. I had to get used to that.”
So far, so good. In fact, Bartosak looks more comfortable each time out.
Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin is hardly surprised.
“Patty is so competitive and he works so hard. As far as a European player is concerned, I don’t think you could ask for more than what we’ve got from him regarding his attitude and compete level, his work ethic and the way he’s fit in,” said Wallin.
“It feels like he’s been here for three years. He’s just got a tremendous attitude and a big part of the success he’s had is due to his competitive level. He never quits on a puck, whether it be in practice or during a game. He spends a lot of time with the coaches and on his own. He’s very self-motivated.”
Bartosak’s teammates and coaches never grow tired of the goaltenders’s cheery disposition.
“He loves being here. He made the decision to come to North American. He wants to be a pro goaltender so he made that commitment,” said Wallin.
“With a lot of Europeans, you’re never quite sure how they’ll adjust. Patty stepped off the plane and ever since he’s just been real happy to be here.
I don’t know if he’s a transplanted Canadian who ended up in the Czech Republic, or what. But he’s just right at home here and it’s been that way since the start.
“He loves his billets and his teammates. He loves coming to the rink every day and he always has a smile on his face.”
— copyright Red Deer Advocate