Tim Anderson had a hearty chuckle when asked about the performance of his goaltender Lucas Wiseman after a lopsided loss.
“He really stood on his head. He faced a lot of shots,” Anderson said Monday at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex in Deer Lake.
Anderson is manager of Team Western’s male hockey team at the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Deer Lake.
Western finished out of medal contention with a record of one win and two losses, eliminated from medal contention Monday thanks to a 5-1 loss to Team Central.
Wiseman, a native of St. Anthony, faced dozens of shots in the two games he played, both of them lopsided losses, but his coach and teammates believe it could have been worse.
Wiseman is a physical presence in the crease at six-foot-one, but he goes about his business rather quietly.
He grew up playing hockey with his buddies in St. Anthony and was excited about earning a spot with Western so he could play in the Games and see how he compares with other goalies his age.
Western was in tough from the get-go with a number of teams in the male hockey competition boasting some of the best AAA bantam players in the province so Wiseman knew he was going to be busy.
He admits the pace of the game was quicker than he expected and some of the opposing players could really fire the puck, but he was just fine with trying to keep his team close knowing his team never had the luxury of being together for a lot of practices before taking on the best in the province.
“You had to look bigger in the net so they’d have less to shoot at,” the soft-spoken goalie said as his teammates chatted about how they were going to spend the rest of the Games now they have been eliminated from competition.
Hockey is a game that provides him with fun and friendship so he wasn’t bent out of shape after his team was eliminated.
He was probably too tired to think about it. He was in no hurry to take his goalie gear off when the game was over as his teammates began huddling together for a team photo as a souvenir of their short time together.
One of the biggest cheers at the Hodder Monday morning came at the end of the Western vs Central male hockey game when it was announced that Wiseman got the nod as player of the game for Western.
He was also presented with player of the game for Western in the opening game of the tournament.
It was a tough test for any goalie who hasn’t seen so many talented players who can rifle a puck with authority for their age group, but Wiseman just took it all in stride and tried his best to keep the score respectable.
He didn’t look at his experience in wins or losses.
He had fun. His teammates supported him. He has made some new friends.
It’s an experience that has helped him find out where he stands in the crease.
That’s what he needed to find out to help him become a quality goalie that will patrol the crease for the Western Kings AAA major midget hockey team when the timing is right.