April 23rd, 2024

Søgaard finding pro success, becomes AHL Senators winningest franchise goalie

By JAMES TUBB on March 16, 2024.

PHOTO COURTESY BELLEVILLE SENATORS CHRIS TANOUYE Former Medicine Hat Tiger goaltender Mads Søgaard became the AHL Belleville Senators all-time winningest goalie with a 25-save, 5-2 win Wednesday over the Utica Comets at CAA Arena in Belleville, Ont.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Medicine Hat Tigers goaltending coach Matt Wong wasn’t surprised to see the first goalie he worked with find quick success at the pro level.

He followed from afar as former Tiger Mads Søgaard became the AHL Belleville Senators all-time winningest goalie with a 25-save performance Wednesday in a 5-2 win over the Utica Comets.

“In terms of just raw ability and raw talent, he might be one of the better ones I’ve had in that area,” Wong said. “He was a great junior goalie, he’s had a good start in the pros in the American League and (I’m) hoping he gets a little bit more of a sniff in the NHL.”

The 23-year-old Aalborg, Denmark product is in his fourth season of professional hockey since being selected 37th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2019. He’s suited up in 25 games for Belleville and six at the NHL level with the Ottawa this season.

His win Wednesday was his 46th at the AHL level, passing Filip Gustavsson for the team record. Søgaard called the milestone a big accomplishment and he’s hoping to add to the tally.

“It just means I’ve been on some great teams here in Belleville and had a lot of support in front of me,” Søgaard said. “Very happy and thankful I’ve gotten opportunities I have, and I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can to help the organization and team get some more wins.”

Belleville is a 2.5 hour jaunt from Ottawa, which has allowed Søgaard to get called up periodically over the last three seasons. Every time he’s made the jump up, he says it leaves him wanting more.

“It’s been great, getting the opportunities I have has been great and something I’m very thankful for,” Søgaard said. “I’m going to try to keep working to get more opportunities, and taking them when they come.”

He hasn’t donned the orange and black since the 2019-20 season, a year the Tigers seem destined for playoff success before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown the season with a handful of games left on the calendar. He made the jump to the AHL the next season and has ran with his opportunities since.

He’s still in contact with his billet family and says he follows the Tigers as much as he can. Søgaard says he’s added some control to his game from his time in Medicine Hat while still learning to play to his peak in his 6-foot-7 frame.

“Not changing too much because I’ve had some success (here) and in Medicine Hat as well, there are things that work,” Søgaard said. “I’ve had a lot of help from my goaltending coaches along the way and I’ve been really lucky, honestly, with the people I’ve met along the way and the people who have helped me to where I am now.”

With Søgaard being the first goalie Wong worked with on the Tigers, after joining them from a championship year with the Brooks Bandits, he considers himself lucky to have that type of talent to work with.

“We had a great relationship on and off the ice, he was great to work with and I just couldn’t be more proud of him,” Wong said. “That’s what you want for all of your guys and it’s a good thing for our young goalies here to see you can get there. For me as a coach, that’s what keeps you going, you see what he’s been able to achieve at that level and you want that for your younger guys.”

Søgaard says he’s had to learn how to play against men with families and a mortgage, a step-up he says from playing against a 20-year-old overager.

“It turns into a job, you’re there for a reason and it’s not just to have fun and enjoy parts of your life, you’re trying to make a living out of it-that’s a big adjustment for sure,” Søgaard said. “You’re starting to learn a little bit more and in terms of how demanding it is on your body and how much you need to invest in your own body, focusing on those recovery details.”

One thing remains the same with Søgaard, his passion for Tim Horton’s Timbits. He says he’s toned back his affection for the baked good, citing a need for a pro diet. But he says every time he’s gone back to Tim Hortons and ordered a pack of his favourite treat, he gets a reminder of his time in Medicine Hat as a Tiger.

“I still love a good a good trip over there and it brings back memories of having never having tried it before and some of my teammates in my first days bringing me over there,” Søgaard said. “It’s fun, it still reminds me of it when I do go once in a while.”

Share this story:

19
-18
Subscribe
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments