Goalie Jaillet reaching for loftier heights
Like most folks, Tanner Jaillet rounds up when talking about his height. With shoes, the University of Denver goalie is close to 5foot-11.
The statistic is significant because being 6-2 seems to be a prerequisite to success for goalies these days, and Jaillet is playing ahead of 6-5 Evan Cowley.
Jaillet, a sophomore, played both games last weekend in a nonconference series against Notre Dame and is the scheduled starter Friday and Saturday in a National Collegiate Hockey Conference series at Nebraska Omaha. Jaillet has a .916 save percentage in 642 minutes. Cowley, a junior, is at .888 in 442 minutes.
DU coach Jim Montgomery also went with Jaillet over Cowley late last season.
“He’s taking up a lot of net right now because he’s playing big,” Montogmery said of Jaillet, a 22year-old Canadian. “Would I like my goalie to be 6-foot-5? Yes. But a lot of teams have won national championships with smaller goalies. Michigan State won with a 5-6 goalie (Jeff Lerg) just back in 2009, and the game hasn’t changed that much. The guy has to have the confidence and the pulse of the team, and Tanner is that for us right now.”
The average height of an NHL goaltender is 6-2. Jhonas Enroth of the Los Angeles Kings is the smallest goalie, at 5-10, and Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders is among a few others under 6-feet.
“You look at all the guys getting drafted — they’re all bigger goalies,” Jaillet said. “What I lack in size I can make up in other areas. A lot of it is about speed and getting to the right place. Big goalies tend to rely on their size and the puck hitting them, and they might not be hitting their marks on the ice all the time. I really focus on that, my positioning.”
Denver is coming off 1-1 and 2-2 ties against the Fighting Irish and is on a six-game winless drought (0-4-2). But the Pioneers outshot Notre Dame a combined 95-52.
“We were frustrated after four losses, but the way we played last weekend, we feel good about ourselves because we outplayed a good team — a team that will probably make the NCAA Tournament — quite significantly,” Montgomery said. “Now it’s just about our details getting better in scoring goals.”