Montreal – Adam Huska was one of the best goalies at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. The biggest problem he faced was having no help in front of him. There’s one thing having a goalie “stand on his head”, but in order for that to happen he has to get a little help from his friends.
“It was a very emotional game for me. I tried to stay calm and play my game,” Huska said, after Slovakia was sent packing. “I will go back to UConn and see my friends. We have big goals this season. I’ll try and play my best again.”
In a game where Sweden destroyed Slovakia 8-3, the 6-4 netminder stood tall. He faced 50 shots (he faced 118 shots in 3 games) and made some amazing pad saves. His leg extension is crazy and he actually frustrated shooters at times earlier in the tournament. He was aggressive in moving out to blow up scoring chances with his stick as well. But like any other goalie under siege he wore down by the third period in some games because in this era of hockey you can’t do it alone. No goalie can.
“We lost 8-3 so I feel bad,” said Huska. “My feelings are different. I was excited to be playing again. I was excited to get player of the game, but we still lost.”
Many players gave props to Huska for a job well done in this tournament. Another part of his game that stood out was the way he was able to stop jam goals from the corner. His post-to-post speed has improved a lot. I’d rate him as the Rangers best goalie prospect. He won’t be the first of them to turn pro, he just has the most potential.
“He was a good goalie,” said Sweden’s, Jonathan Dahlen. “I had a couple of chances but he’s real good. I think he played a good game today. He faced how many shots? Even though he let in eight he had a pretty good game.”
Does he expect a lot of playing time in UConn?
“Yes,” he answered. “This competition here is different (U20). Here are the best players under 20. At UConn there are older players so the quality is still there.”
At 19, he could stay in college for three more years before the Rangers decide what the next step is for him. He has a sparkling .926 save percentage in NCAA hockey so my guess is he stays there another year or two. Then he’ll go to Hartford. With Henrik Lundqvist ahead of him the Rangers can afford to bring him along slowly.