Saturday, July 26, 2014

Two guys trying to snag one job

February 19. 2013 1:55PM
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Here's what is known about the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltending situation heading into tonight's home game against the Rochester Americans: Brad Thiessen will start and Jeff Zatkoff will play at some point during the three games this weekend.

Other than that, the battle for the starting goaltender spot is still very much up in the air.

And it could remain that way for quite some time.

We're going to take it game-by-game, said head coach John Hynes after Thursday's practice. It's still a competition. They've both done a nice job, but we're looking for someone to make a big difference.

Through the first four games of the season, Zatkoff has started three, posting a 3.07 GAA and a .875 save percentage. Thiessen appeared in one game, allowing three goals on 25 shots in a 3-2 loss to Bridgeport last weekend.

Zatkoff, for the record, has yet to record a win as well, and getting that first W for the team could equate to more time between the pipes.

Both of us have shown over our careers that we can play, Thiessen said. I think it's a question now of getting out there and getting some wins. It's not rocket science.

But it is based on merit. Hynes said it's important that performance dictates who gets to play and who doesn't. By basing the goaltender competition on merit, he said, it avoids creating problems between players.

Not that there are any between Zatkoff and Thiessen, both of whom have been supportive of each other.

If it winds up where you say it's a competition and it's not based on merit, that could be a little bit of an issue, Hynes said. Base it strictly on performance and you stick with that, that's the best case.

No matter how long the goaltending competition lasts, Zatkoff said it's not something that's a surprise. He's dealt with it during the last three seasons in Manchester, and said goalie competitions have become the norm among AHL teams.

There are only two spots. When you get to this level both guys can play and this is a developmental league. Teams have guys they're developing and they want them both to play and be ready for that next level, Zatkoff said. A lot of times that's why you see both guys getting a lot of games in the AHL. At the NHL, that's the final step and you have your number one and number two.


Rochester Americans at

WBS Penguins

When: 7 p.m., today

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena

Radio: All games can be heard on 102.3 The Mountain.

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