Xtreme goalie’s confidence increases as season progresses
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Dec 12, 2013 10:33 am
As he becomes more experienced playing in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL), 14-year-old Airdrie native Justin Fedoruk has become more confident in his role as a goaltender for the Airdrie Xtreme.
“At the start of this year, I was really overthinking things all time, but I feel that I have become a lot better as the season has gone on,” Fedoruk explained. “You’re going up against some of the best players in the province in this league, but I have been able to keep my head in the game, and just stay focused.”
Fedoruk’s improvements in the mental side of the game have been noticed by the Xtreme’s goalie coach, Chris Bergman, who has had an up-close view of the young netminder since the season began in September.
“Justin’s always been a big-game goalie, but he’s playing with a lot more consistency at this level,” Bergman, who works with Fedoruk during the summer at the Explosive Edge goalie school in Airdrie, said. “We’ve done a lot of work on the mental aspect of the game along with his play with the puck, and his confidence and consistency have both improved over the last little while.”
The improvements in Fedourk’s game were on full display at the Ron Ebbesen Arena in Airdrie on Dec. 7, when he turned down 34 shots on goal in the Xtreme’s 3-3 tie with the Rocky Mountain Raiders.
“I would have to say that was my best game of the season so far,” Fedoruk said. “They had a lot of two-on-one chances and some opportunities with an open net, but I was able to make the saves when I had to.”
“I also bounced back from the goals that I gave up, which was something that I was pleased about being able to do,” he added.
So far this season, Fedoruk has compiled a 5-5-1 record with a 3.29 goals against average for the Xtreme, as he has split time equally with Cochrane native Ben Laidlaw.
“Ben and I really try to push each other to be our very best all of the time, even in practice,” Fedoruk said. “It’s funny because being from different towns, we used to have a little bit of a rivalry with one another, but now we really get along with one another.”
“Once we finally got to know one another, we actually hit it off right away,” Laidlaw said. “Justin’s a pretty good goalie, and I have been able to learn a lot from him.”
The friendly rivalry between the two netminders is something that Bergman has been pleased to see, especially when it comes to a position such as goaltending.
“I have never seen two guys support each other as much as they do,” he said. “They help each other out all of time and there’s such a positive competition between the two, which is quite nice.”
Though his main goal at the moment is to help the Xtreme contend for the AMBHL championship, Fedoruk’s long-term plans are to play south of the border one day.
“I would really love to play in the college ranks in the NCAA, no matter what school it is,” Fedoruk said. “If that doesn’t work out though, I just want to keep playing at whatever level I can.”