All Smiles For Wedgewood
October 15th, 2012 | Comments (3)
All Smiles For Wedgewood
by Candice Monhollan
READING, PA – It may not have been easy facing numerous shots, but for Trenton Titans goaltender Scott Wedgewood, earning a win in his pro debut was more than enough to put a smile on his face Saturday night.
The game didn’t come without nerves for Wedgewood.
“I don’t think it hit me until I went in [the locker room] to get changed,” Wedgewood said. “In the warm-up, it was pretty normal and then just getting ready it was, ‘Oh, whoa, this is the day.’”
He said allowing the first goal on the first shot was in the back of his mind.
“[It’s] pretty much in a goalie’s mind all the time,” Wedgewood said. “In my first preseason game this year, I got in halfway through against Adirondack and the first shot went in on me. You don’t want it to happen. You’d love it to be a shot from the blue line right into your gut, but not much you can do about it.”
The 20 year old was strong in the opening and became stellar as the game went on, especially as an onslaught of shots began coming his way in the second period.
In a 6-2 win over the Reading Royals, Wedgewood allowed two goals on 33 shots, with one of those coming on the power play.
“In the first period, I got the jitters out and played well,” Wedgewood said. “I gave up a weak one and made up for it with a glove save in the second. That one probably should have went in and the other one shouldn’t have, so I evened it out. I was pretty happy with myself and the guys played well.”
Early in the second, a shot squeaked through Wedgewood’s right pad and slowly made its way across the line.
Titans head coach Vince Williams wasn’t concerned with any type of mental breakdown from his goaltender after the soft goal.
“He knows what he needs to do,” Williams said. “You’re taking a guy that’s a world class goalie coming out of juniors. Sometimes with guys like that, you don’t have to tell them anything. It says a lot about the player.”
As for Wedgewood, he used a technique called ‘see, replace and erase’ to get himself past the goal.
“You see what you did wrong and you replace it with yourself making a save and then you just get it out of your mind and keep going,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for a couple years now. I learned it through a personal mental trainer guy and it just works. That’s the thing I do. You can’t get down on yourself.”
With the NHL lockout going on, there has been an overabundance of players in the minor leagues and forcing some players who would normally be in the AHL down to the ECHL.
Wedgewood, drafted in the third round (84th overall) by the New Jersey Devils in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is considered to be the best goaltending prospect for the Devils.
After spending time in the Albany Devils camp, he was loaned to the Titans Friday, which happened to be the day they opened their season. However, fitting in with the team in two days has been easier than imagined, Wedgewood said.
“A few of the guys are from the Ontario Hockey League and Ryan Hayes I’ve played with for a few years and I’ve pretty much seen him every summer,” Wedgewood said. “He’s really helped me out just coming down here really quickly and easing me in with the guys. A lot of the guys have really stepped up and been really approachable, which is nice at this level.”
Williams, who finds himself with two solid goaltenders between Wedgewood and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Niko Hovinen, believes the ECHL is a great league for goaltenders.
“If you look at the history of this league in producing NHL goalies, it’s all down the line,” Williams said. “You’re playing at a high level, you’re learning the pro game and it’s an adjustment for him, from a lifestyle standpoint as well.”
The native of Brampton, Ont., sees his time with the Titans as his chance to continue to play and improve and echoes his coach’s sentiments on the ECHL’s ability to produce NHL-caliber goaltenders.
“A lot of NHL goalies have started here,” Wedgewood said. “Quick, who just won a Stanley Cup, was down here and guys that have done themselves good deeds in the NHL.
“For me right now, it’s about playing time. This league is almost an AHL league right now. For me, it’s to play lights out every night and hopefully get a call-up sooner than later, then hopefully ride that up to as high as I can go.”