The Penticton Vees netminding duties are in solid hands.
The original plan was to go with Billy Faust as their top stopper, but that changed on Aug. 1 when the Vees dealt the Altaloma, California native to the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. Just days later, the Vees acquired the 2010/11 BCHL Goaltender of the Year Michael Garteig.
Garteig, a Prince George minor hockey product, appeared in 48 games for the Powell River Kings compiling an impressive 36-8-3 record and tied the BCHL single season shutout record at seven.
“Gartieg demonstrated that he was the best goalie in the BCHL last year,” said Vees coach and GM Fred Harbinson in a statement. “Michael’s addition to our roster is significant and is another step in our drive towards a championship.”
Garteig, who turns 20 on Nov. 5, was part of a three-team trade between the Vees, Kings and Victoria Grizzlies. Penticton acquired Garteig from the Grizzlies for the rights to 20-year-old goaltender Jamie Tucker.
On Twitter, the Vees new No.1 stopper posted his feelings about the move.
“Thanks Powell River for everything – now a Penticton Vee. Excited to wear the blue n white,” said Garteig, whose record in 75 BCHL games is 51-19-3.
Garteig is also excited about joining the Vees because its closer to his home and his father can watch him play. Garteig asked for a trade from the Kings because he didn’t want to share goaltending duties with Sean Maguire, who he thinks highly of. Garteig didn’t feel it was fair to him or Maguire to share playing time. Garteig was initially planning on playing in the NCAA Division 1 with Quinnipiac, but had to get his eligibility cleared up which he has. The two sides mutually agreed for him to return for one more BCHL season.
With the group of players returning to the Vees, then add the new recruits and Garteig as the last line of defence, and Garteig likes what they can accomplish.
“I’m not looking to break any records,” said Garteig, who set a BCHL record with a 1.69 goals against average. “I’m just looking to win. I want to win so badly. I have been in the final the last two years. I want to hoist the Fred Page so badly and then hopefully go to the national championship.”
Garteig contributes his success to being a hard worker.
“I’m a battler, I’m not a technical guy,” he said, adding that his goalie coach has helped him a lot. “You could call me Tim Thomas. I rely a lot more on my athleticism.”
While Garteig said that Thomas, who helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup just over a month ago, is unbelievable, his favourite goalie is Carey Price.
When asked, Garteig said that Price is too much like a robot to be able to take pieces of his game.
“He is so technical,” he said. “I can copy some moves from Tim Thomas, maybe diving on my head and stuff like that. Bring a different style than Joey Rumpel that’s for sure.”
In making the move, Harbinson said it wasn’t as much about moving Faust as it was about getting Garteig.
“When we were set on having Billy back as our No.1 goalie, I think he’s a No.1 goalie in the BCHL, and I think he has the ability to play after junior,” said Harbinson, to the Western News. “I think he will have an opportunity to play in college. At the same time, when a player of Garteig’s ability, obviously he played behind a very strong defensive core last year but you can’t argue with his numbers. He’s a big goaltender as well and he’s hungry now that he’s made it to the finals the last two years to try to push past that.”