Red Deer native Tanner Jaillet is tending the net for the NCAA’s best team at University of Denver this season. (Submitted photo)

Tanner Jaillet enjoying banner season at University of Denver

There’s been no fun in the sun for University of Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet this spring break

There’s been no fun in the sun for University of Denver Pioneers goalie Tanner Jaillet this spring break.

Instead, the Red Deer product has dreams of the frozen variety.

His team is ranked number one in NCAA Men’s Hockey and will square off Saturday against Michigan Tech in hockey’s version of March Madness, aptly named the “Frozen Four”.

“We’ve had a lot of wins. It’s been fun. Learned lots. The most important part is ahead of us still so we’re looking forward to that,” he said.

“It’s going to be challenging. We’re playing a good team. We’re prepared. It’ll be fun but we’re expecting a battle. Nothing is going to be easy at this point in the season.”

The one-game elimination tournament is bracket style, with 16 teams playing off for the right to advance to the National Championship on April 8 at the United Center in Chicago.

A sophomore at DU, the five-foot-11, 184-pound netminder, who some coined a ‘late-bloomer’ has enjoyed a banner season, winning conference goalie of the year and is nominated for the 2017 Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goalie.

“The one goal I had at the beginning of the year was just giving my team an opportunity to win games. We have the most wins in the NCAA right now, so that was mostly my focus. It just happened that the individual awards were a part of that,” he said.

A long way from the kid who loathed the fact he had to share the net all the way back in Timbits hockey and was cut from several top minor hockey teams.

“Red Deer is a pretty good hockey town. Didn’t have the easiest path in minor hockey, got cut from some of the top teams and those experiences have definitely helped me recently in my career and pushing through my career,” Jaillet said.

“Just that adversity, you’re going to deal with it sooner or later so it’s good to be able to know how to handle those situations and make the most of them.”

His numbers this season, with 24 wins and only four losses are tied for the best in the NCAA, his goals against average is second at a minuscule 1.82 and his save percentage is third, at .930.

With all the personal accolades coming his way, Jaillet said he never gave it any thought and was always focused on just getting better.

“There’s been some development this season, just getting comfortable in different situations through playing games. I’ve tried to work on a couple little things but there’s definitely been a progression to my game. I’m way ahead of where I started the year,” he said.

Getting better is something he’s become increasingly good at too, increasing his save percentage in two out of three seasons with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, then incrementally improving it every season at DU.

“That’s one of the few things you can focus on is just get a little bit better each day,” Jaillet added.

“If you put in the work and work on those little details that translate into success in games – you’re going to continue to get better as a goalie which ultimately help your team and win some games.”

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month