GDI Goalie Mario Petit made the most of his WHL playoff debut, by shutting out the Portland Winterhawks.
By: Jesse Geleynse
For 72 regular-season games Everett Silvertips backup goalie Mario Petit waited, making the occasional spot start or relieving star netminder Carter Hart in a blowout.
Then, in Game No. 73 Petit had a chance to show his teammates and the Xfinity Arena faithful what he could do.
With Hart sidelined with an undisclosed lower-body injury, Petit saved all 29 shots he faced as the Tips won the first game of their best-of-seven Western Hockey League first-round series against the Portland Winterhawks 3-0 before 3,094 fans Friday.
“The theme on our team right now is that you have your partner’s back or your teammates’ back, and I just wanted to make sure I had my team because goaltending is a big key in the playoffs, and any game really,” Petit said. “Our team played extremely well, outshot Portland, but we can’t really dwell on the win too much because Portland is going to come out tomorrow even harder.”
Petit played in 15 games during the regular season while starting just nine. Four of those nine starts came in the final four games of the year after Hart went down to injury. Petit, a WHL rookie from Ile-Des-Chenes, Manitoba, added Friday’s win to the 3-2 overtime victory he garnered at Portland on March 8.
“He was a very patient man because he didn’t get to play much during the year – Hart was our No. 1 guy and was playing well, so we leaned on Hart,” head coach Kevin Constantine said.
“Mario really never was a distraction to the team during that time and that’s pretty frustrating for a guy not to get to play,” Constantine continued. “He just hung in there, man. He’s got such a great personality and he hung in there so it’s kind of cool to see him get an opportunity. He’s excited about it and it couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.”
The Tips were 5-5 against the Winterhawks during the regular season. The final four games of the 2015-16 campaign were decided by 3-2 scores with the Tips winning three.
Friday’s playoff opener was the most decisive of Everett’s six victories over Portland so far.
“They made it easy for me,” Petit said. “They stopped almost all the pucks and cleared anything else sitting in the crease and made it easy for me.”
While the humble Petit made it sound blasé, his teammates raved about the effort he turned in.
“All you gotta do is believe in the guy and he’ll turn some heads,” defenseman Brycen Martin said. “He’s a good goalie and I know he didn’t get an opportunity this year, but he was waiting for a chance like this… We’re not too thrilled that Carter’s hurt because we relied on him so much during the year, but Mario stepped up in a big way and he proved to us he means business back there. We trust him completely.”
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Petit has been training with GDI for many years through 1v1 lessons and the Total GDI Academy.
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GDI Goaltending, being the regional leader in goaltender development, has designed a unique program that offers goaltenders a special training program while playing Spring Hockey. As goaltenders go through spring hockey competing in tournaments our goal is to provide instruction for each goaltender and to help lead them on a path of developing and detailing their game.
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