By RYAN MCCRACKEN on September 13, 2019.
Evan Fradette will get his chance to shine when the Medicine Hat Tigers drop the puck against the Red Deer Rebels tonight at Westerner Park Centrium.
Fradette joined up with the Tigers in a trade with the Portland Winterhawks last week, but the 18-year-old St. Albert product hasn’t been able to show the team what he has to offer until now.
“I always want to be in the net, I love playing games, so this is going to be really good for me – giving me a chance to prove myself and prove how good I really am,” said Fradette. “This past week has been really good. Getting into camp, meeting all the guys, everybody has been phenomenal here. They’ve made me feel like I’m at home.”
While he hasn’t had much to evaluate yet, Tigers head coach and general manager Willie Desjardins says Fradette’s numbers speak for themselves. The 6-foot-3, 196-pound netminder posted a 2.35 goals against average and a .913 save percentage through 14 regular season games with the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s St. Albert Raiders last year and went on to earn playoff MVP after taking the Raiders to the league finals with a .929 save percentage and a 2.17 goals against average through 11 post-season contests.
“We’ve only had a couple of days, but he’s a big goaltender who moves pretty well,” said Desjardins. “The thing I like best is the numbers he’s put up in the past. You really can’t tell out of practice where things are at, but he’s put up some really good numbers in the past, and in pressure situations too, so I’m looking forward to watching him.”
Fradette’s successes continued into tournament play last season, as he also helped his Raiders take home the 2019 Mac’s AAA Hockey Tournament championship in January with a .950 save percentage over three games.
“I think the biggest key is just taking every day one-by-one,” said Fradette. “Every day is a new game, but I don’t treat any game differently. It’s always the same routine, same everything. I just go in with the same mental mindset.”
Despite not playing in a game through his first week with the team, Tigers alternate captain Tyler Preziuso says Fradette still made an impact by providing plenty of chatter from the bench in Medicine Hat’s 4-3 comeback win over the Pats on Saturday in Regina.
“He was pretty vocal during that pre-season game,” said Preziuso. “It’s pretty nice for him being a new guy coming in and talking a lot, and he’s looking good in practice.”
The Tigers and Rebels hit the ice at 7 p.m.