Here’s a look at the contributions a number of Thunder Bay Kings’ alumni goaltenders are providing, courtesy of the Tuesday, Nov. 1 edition of Tom Annelin’s Net Shots column in the Chronicle-Journal.
WHAT an incredible Ontario Hockey League debut it was for Thunder Bay’s Carter George last week.
With his Owen Sound Attack side down 5-1 midway through the second period Thursday versus the Barrie Colts, George, who was serving as the back-up that night, was summoned off the bench in the relief to appear in his first career OHL game.
Keeping his club in it, the 16-year-old netminder turned aside all 14 shots he faced while Owen Sound rallied with four straight tallies to help force overtime.
After OT failed to provide a result, extra shots were needed to determine a winner.
There George was phenomenal stopping all eight attempts he saw in the lengthy affair to backstop the Attack to a thrilling 6-5 come from behind triumph and earning him his initial OHL victory.
Following that up, the former Thunder Bay Kings stalwart goalkeeper made 27 saves Sunday in his opening OHL start and was named the game’s first star in a 4-1 win over the Kingston Frontenacs.
His early league stats line sees him boasting a crisp 0.63 goals-against average and an equally stellar .976 percentage as well as earn OHL Goaltender of the Week laurels.
After being drafted by Owen Sound from the Kings under-16 squad in the third round, 53rd overall, of the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, George began this season with the Attack’s affiliate, the St. Mary’s Lincolns of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
There he posted a record of 2-1-1-0 in five appearances with an GAA of 2.88, along with a save mark of .902.
Meanwhile, Nate Krawchuk is another Thunder Bay goaltender currently in his OHL rookie campaign with the Sudbury Wolves.
The former U18 Kings stopper is still in search of his opening win as he sits with an 0-2 record following road defeats at Saginaw and Kitchener.
Krawchuk was tabbed by Sudbury from the Kings with the third overall pick in this past summer’s OHL U18 Draft.
GOALIE GURU: Having worked with many local netminders over the years with his Zulie’s Goalie Academy in the Lakehead, Colin Zulianello has also returned to the professional ranks this season as the goaltending development coach of the National Hockey League’s Seattle Kraken.
Among his duties will be working closely with Kraken prospect goalkeepers, including at the AHL level with their farm club, the first-year Coachella Valley Firebirds, who are based out of suburban Palm Springs, Calif.
The Firebirds are 4-2-0-0 early in their tenure.
No stranger to this role, Zulianello spent three seasons in a similar capacity in the Calgary Flames organization and was most recently on the Lakehead University Thunderwolves staff as their goaltending coach.
In earlier days, he backstopped the Thunder Bay Kings to gold and silver medals at the Air Canada Cup.
Following that, Zulianello manned the nets for the Thunder Bay Flyers in the USHL and went on to play NCAA Division I hockey at Colorado College.
Others feature Chrisitan Cicigoi, who after a team MVP season in the OJHL with the Haliburton County Huskies in 2021-22, has made a solid early impression with the local Thunderwolves.
Among those with 180, or more, minutes of playing time in the OUA, Cicigoi sits tied for second in save percentage at .942 with a record of 3-1-1-0 and an average of 2.17.
Then there is Edmonton Oilers prospect Ryan Fanti, presently with their ECHL affiliate, the Fort Wayne Komets.
The former UMD Bulldogs NCAA standout is 0-1-0-1 through two games.
APPROACHING 60: Thunder Bay’s Mackenzie Blackwood is just two wins shy of 60 in his career with the New Jersey Devils.
The NHL’s 3rd Star of the Week, for the period ending Oct. 23, sits seventh in franchise history in victories with 58, trailing only Martin Brodeur (688); Chris Terreri (118); Cory Schneider (115); Glenn (Chico) Resch (67); Keith Kincaid (64) and Sean Burke (62).
Photo credit: OHL Images