Lucas Pfeil made the most of his opportunity.
He started in goal for the Kitchener Rangers for the first time in nine-games, Sunday afternoon. It was only his third start in the Ontario Hockey League, and he made 33 saves earning second-star honours.
“Lucas was phenomenal,” said Kitchener head coach Jay McKee after the 3-0 loss to the London Knights. “With them getting a boost with a couple guys that were just playing in the NHL the other, he came in, as a younger goalie, handled the pressure great and certainly gave us a chance to win.”
Both Evan Bouchard and Alex Formenton made their season debut for London after being sent back from the Edmonton Oilers and the Ottawa Senators respectively.
Bouchard scored the opening goal of the game, but Pfeil robbed Formenton on a clear breakaway from the blueline in alone.
“It was exciting for me to get in there and play those guys and see how I match up against the top-tier talent in this league,” said Pfeil. “I wasn’t worried. I was excited to get in there.”
The Owen Sound native has looked better each time he’s got in the Rangers’ net.
After making his OHL debut two years ago in Hamilton against the Bulldogs, Pfeil forced the coaching staff to keep him this year in training camp.
“I think a lot of it is learning the game more, and learning what players are going to do and maturing as a person,” said Pfeil of his improved play. “[I’m] being able to handle my emotions more and handle my mental game better. I’ve learned a lot the last couple years and I just want to keep improving."
Despite how good he was against a top team in London, in two games this weekend, the Rangers didn’t score a goal.
Make it 134 minutes and seven seconds without a tally.
After going goal-less against Guelph Friday, the Blueshirts were blanked by the London Knights 3-0 Sunday afternoon.
“I can’t say it’s from a lack of trying or a lack of work ethic,” said McKee after talking to his team. “They’re obviously pretty down right now. They’re a little bit slumped over in their stalls, guys look tired.”
“We just reiterated, when things are going well, you use the analogy of not getting to highs on the highs. When things aren’t going the way you want, you can’t get too low. You have to remain positive.”
The Rangers are on the road Tuesday in Peterborough playing the Petes.
STORY BY CHRIS POPE.