KANATA, Ont. — Daniel McCarthy understands how important it is to have the No. 1 guy on his game when it really matters most.
That’s why he’s remaining patient as the new puckstopper with the Kanata Lasers of the Canadian Central Hockey League.
The Lasers find themselves in the thick of a playoff hunt with seven points separating them from the eighth and final playoff berth in the 12-team league.
McCarthy, who is 18, has been limited to one start since joining the team in early January to assume the No. 2 job.
“We’re a few points out of a playoff position so I guess it would be tough to throw me in there and give me a bunch of starts,” he said. “It’s kind of tough where I haven’t played in the league throughout the year.”
McCarthy provided stellar goaltending as the Western Kings captured the 2012-2013 provincial major midget hockey league crown only one year ago. He finished up the regular season with an 11-3 record before going on a spectactular playoff run where he won eight out of 10 gmaes to give the western boys the crown.
This year, it’s somebody else with the opportunity to turn things around and he fully understands how it works.
“I’m working hard in practice and I’ve gotten better since doing that so it’s a good experience,” he said of his role as a back-up. “Being on the ice six or seven days a week helps. Everyone in the league is a good team so practising with these guys every day makes you that much better.”
McCarthy’s only start ended in a 4-2 loss to the Cumberland Grad with an empty-net goal clinching the win for the opposing side.
“I played really well. One of the better games I played. We just couldn’t find a way to score,” he said.
Now, it’s a matter of just being ready to defend the cage if the coach gives him the call and he hopes things fall into place because he’d love to see the team make the playoffs. To make it happen, he said, a lot of things would have to fall into place.
But, he’s been around sports long enough to know anything is possible.
“You don’t want to build yourself up to think we’re going to make the playoffs and feel bad when we don’t but we’re seven points out,” he said. “We got to win a lot of games and teams have to start losing a lot of games, but stranger things have happened.”
Regardless of what happens, he has been told by the team that his chance will come. Whether that happens in the next three weeks during the playoff push or it’s a matter of him being asked to come back in August for training camp, he’s been having a blast and wants to prove his mettle whenever his time comes.
“It’s tough to keep giving me starts when we need wins,”he said.