The Red Deer Rebels enter the 2017 WHL playoffs with two solid options in net.
Unproven yes, but ready for the challenge big time games will bring.
Lasse Petersen is the more experienced of the tandem, appearing in six playoff games with the Spokane Chiefs last season. He went 2-3-1 in a first round series defeat against Victoria.
“It’s definitely a different kind of game,” he said.
“Everything is harder, everyone puts a little bit more on the line because you want to go further. In that manner you know you have to bring a little bit more to the table and be ready for whatever happens.”
A six-foot-two netminder who appeared in 41 games this season, Petersen said he’ll also draw on his experience playing for Denmark at the World Junior Hockey Championships, should he get the call in net for Red Deer.
“Just playing on a stage like that, it is something you can carry on with you for the rest of your career, no matter how long it’s going to go,” he said.
Petersen finished the regular season with a 16-16-4 record and .896 save percentage.
His goaltending partner, rookie Riley Lamb split the workload right down the middle and appeared in 41 games as well, going 14-12-5-3 and .899 save percentage.
The 18-year-old, from Rivers, Man., said he’s not sure what to expect when the puck drops for the playoffs, but is looking forward to the opportunity.
“In the last few weeks I’ve played some of my best hockey. I’m pretty happy with where it is and hopefully the team is confident with me as well,” he said.
While both goalies are eager for the post-season challenge, each of the young crease protectors understand the significant challenge they’ll face against the high-powered Hurricanes offence.
Lethbridge averaged 3.9 goals a game this year, while both Petersen and Lamb carried 3.19 and 3.39 goals against averages, respectively.
The Hurricanes also boast two 40-goal scorers in Tyler Wong and Zak Zborosky, along with 35-goal man Giorgio Estephan.
“As long as they don’t score too many,” Lamb said jokingly about whether he looks forward to facing a Hurricanes’ offence with plenty of firepower.
“They give you an opportunity to make big saves and keep your team in the game. That’s what I thrive on, it’ll be fun.”
Petersen added: “If I get the nod for any of the games I’ll definitely be prepared for it. Guys like Wong and Estephan have dangerous shots, they’re good on the power play as well so we have to do a good job of shutting them down.”
For the most part in the past month, the two Manitoba raised goalies have essentially alternated starts. Since they’ve pretty much been a tandem from the start, Petersen said they’ve grown into a pretty solid duo as goalie partners on and off the ice.
“Off the ice, we get a long pretty well. On the ice we push ourselves. Just the nature of the position. We both want ice time, and we both want to play lots,” Petersen said.
When the playoff series with the Hurricanes gets underway Saturday, a good performance in net by either goalie could go a long way in securing a second shot.