DENVER – Hockey goalies have the most interesting job in sports. There are very few personalities in this world that want to stop pucks for a living; it’s even rarer to find one that’s really good at it. Most teams will look for height when recruiting goaltenders. The number of goaltenders under six feet tall is few and far between.
The Denver Pioneers have found themselves a really good one in 5-foot-11 Tanner Jaillet. He’s not called upon very often due to DU’s stellar defensive corps, but he’s been a rock all season and continues to be a rock as a last resort for the Pioneers.
“The big thing is consistency,” Jaillet said about his success with along with the defenseman. “They know what I’m doing and I know what they’re doing, so we’re able to work together well and have success this year.”
The junior puck stopper ranks fourth in the nation in goals against average, ninth in save percentage and second in wins. Simply put, he’s been dominant.
Jaillet is a big reason the Pioneers have made it to the Frozen Four, but they have their sights set on bigger and better things this year and have always kept last year’s Frozen Four trip in the back of their minds.
“The only thing we had to change is winning this year,” Jaillet explained. “I mean getting there is great and all but if you don’t win it doesn’t matter. So we’re trying to change that this year.”
Nothing can make a team more motivated than a big loss in during the previous season. Think about the national champions in football and basketball this year. Both Clemson and North Carolina lost in the championship a year ago but came back as men on a mission.
Although it was in the semi-finals where DU lost last season, that’s exactly what the Pioneers are trying to do this season. One of Jaillet’s goals this season was to lead, using his demeanor on the ice, for the Pios to reach that next step.
“Everybody’s got a role to play and we need them to perform their role,” Jaillet said. “I mean, yeah, I think I’ve taken up a leadership role. Maybe not as much vocally but leading through my play.”
The magic formula for the Pioneers to have success this weekend is for everyone to perform in their role, especially Jaillet, and stay consistent. Do those two things and they plan to be hoisting the trophy come Saturday night.