Michael Garteig didn’t sleep well before Game 2 of the Doyle Cup.
While the Brooks Bandits are riding German-born netminder Jan Obernesser, Garteig knew he was getting the nod Saturday after Chad Katunar led the Penticton Vees to a decisive 7-2 victory the night before. The two-time BCHL Goalie of the Year hadn’t played a game since Feb. 26 because of a lower body injury.
“When I’m nervous I usually play well,” said Garteig, who was named the BCHL Player of the Week following his 43-save shutout effort. “Channel that energy into positive energy. I was very focused. I didn’t take my mind off the game at all. That was a key. I was able to get a goose egg, which was pretty cool.”
Once Garteig’s jitters left him he had a blast. He said he hasn’t had fun in a while. Even though he faced a lot of rubber, he said it wasn’t a hard night for him as his defence did a good job.
Obernesser said Garteig had a stellar game.
“Odds are he won’t have that kind of game again,” he said without meaning any disrespect.
“He was solid, real calm. Like he hadn’t been gone,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “That’s what a veteran goalie does, gives you a chance to win on the road. He didn’t have much room for error with us only scoring one time.”
And he did it in a filled Centennial Regional Arena with 1,700-plus fans cheering on the Bandits.
“It’s a smaller rink but new and it’s very nice,” said Garteig. “They packed it both nights and it’s kind of more on top of you than the SOEC. You’re playing with the fans right on top of you. They are not afraid to throw their two cents at you every once in a while. That’s the atmosphere that you want to play in.”
Garteig said the Bandits are similar to the Vees but with less depth. He also feels the Vees defence is better.
“It’s the Doyle Cup so you’re not going to run into a bad team,” he said, adding it’s nice to be up 2-0 against a team like that. “Hopefully just keep the ball rolling and win a couple at home here.”
When told of Obernesser’s comments, Garteig said he isn’t sure about having another performance like that. His plan is to just continue giving the Vees his best.
“You can’t say that you can’t have one of those performances again,” said Garteig. “I’m sure as a goalie he will have one of those performances. So will I in my career.”
Obernesser played hockey in Germany from age five to 12, then with the encouragement of former NHLer Sylvain Turgeon, who is friends with his dad, he decided to try playing in Canada. After playing minor hockey in Alberta, he joined the Edge School AAA Mountaineers. He was then invited to a Bandits camp and impressed the coaching staff.
He has found the play in the Doyle Cup to be a step up from the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He admits his first game was a shock. However, in Game 2, he felt the Bandits showed what they can do.
Obernesser said he enjoyed his battle with Garteig.
“Both goalies had good games,” he said. “They don’t get lots of opportunities but are opportunistic. You have to keep your head on a swivel. Their D-men are active. They are farily tough.”
Garteig said he knows Obernesser is a good goalie and has heard plenty about him as his goalie coach works with Obernesser’s backup Michael Fredrick.
“That was an underrated performance by him,” said Garteig. “We won the game but essentially one goal on 30 shots is pretty good, too. He tracks the puck well. He’s a pretty big boy (six-foot-two, 175 pounds). He battles when he needs to. He’s an intense kid. You can tell he’s very intense when he plays. It was a good goaltending battle.”
Harbinson said that credit should be given to Obernesser for bouncing back.
“He didn’t play very well in Game 1,” said Harbinson. “He definitely had a good comeback game. We will see if he is able to put another good performance together or if we get to him.”
In the late stages of Game 1, Chad Katunar suffered a lower body injury. Harbinson said that Katunar should be close to returning soon. The Vees made minor tweaks in preparation for Game 3. Game 4 will be played at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Should Game 5 be necessary, it will be Friday at the SOEC at 7 p.m.