Carter Hart is back.
The Philadelphia Flyers 2015 2nd round pick (48th overall) is one of the best goaltending prospects in the game. Carter Hart missed some time recently with mono, but returned on Friday with the Everett Silvertips in the WHL.
In his first start since September, Hart made 23 saves on 24 shot for a 3-1 win on Friday night. He then made 39 saves on 41 shots in a tough 3-1 loss on Saturday. He got a day off on Sunday but was back in action on Monday, this time with the WHL team for the Russian series.
Hart was one of Canada’s two goalies last season at the World Junior Championship and is the reigning back-to-back Del Wilson Trophy winner for the Top Goaltender in the WHL.Hart had a .918 save percentage in 2015-16, .927 last season, and has a .930 save percentage through four starts this season. There was no doubt that he would get the nod for the WHL against Russia to open the series in Saskatchewan.
He showed why he is so highly touted during a 20-save shutout win against Russia. It was the first time Russia was shutout in the Super Series since 2012, when Laurent Brossoit accomplished the feat. But it wasn’t without a few tests.
The WHL pounded Russia, 7-0, but there were several moments early on where Hart had to come up big.
Less than two minutes into the game he had to come up with a big stop on Alexey Polodyan.
Hart stayed with him as he tried to net a backhander.
It was the first of more than a few one-on-one chances for Russia.
Six minutes later Artyom Manukyan tried to beat Hart with a shot on a break, but Hart quickly closed the pads to deny him.
Here’s another look at Hart closing up shop.
He kept shutting the door.
Maxim Tslplakov had a shorthanded chance after deking past a defenseman, but Hart kept his left pad along the ice to deny his far-side attempt.
Easy work for Carter.
But he wasn’t done there.
His teammates finally scored on a power-play to give him some support, and he kept the lead going into the locker room.
Russia had another shorthanded chance, Mikhail Maltsev was on a rush and tried to beat Hart.
He made a nice move in front, but it wasn’t anything that could fool Hart.
Hart shut down his attempt, and shut down every attempt he saw in the game.
Russia only had five shorts in the 1st period, but four of them were on either breakaways or partial breakaways that tested Hart. He did well to deny them and kept it going with nine more saves in the 2nd period, and six in the 3rd for a 20-save shutout.
Hart was tested early, but he used it as a positive to get into the game.
I think my first three shots of the game were breakaways, so that kind of got me right into it and I felt good right away. It’s always nice to get a couple chances early to get yourself right into the game.
He was impressed with the overall team effort, though, and was sure to credit the team in front of him.
I felt good. It obviously helps when we only surrender 20 shots. I thought we were really pressing them the whole game and we started off with a bang and kept it going for the full 60. I thought we played really well tonight.
Hockey Canada has seen a lot of Hart, and there is no doubt that he is talented. He will likely be the starter at the World Junior Championships this season, so he might not need to show much here. But when asked what he wants to show Canada’s brass, he gave a great answer.
That I’m a good teammate. That I bring an edge. That’s our biggest thing right now is bringing an edge. What can you bring to get an edge over another team. I hope I can bring an edge to help get that gold medal in Buffalo in January.
Hart had a great start against Russia and he showed why he is one of the best goalie prospects in the league. There shouldn’t be a lot of pressure on him just yet, though. He’s still just 19 years old and it’s good to see him heatlhy and stopping pucks.
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