The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that Wenatchee Wild goaltender Greg Lewis has been named the Brian’s Custom Sports NAHL Goaltender of the Month for October.
Lewis, a 20-year-old from Mars, Pennsylvania, posted a 2-1-1 record in four games in the month of October. What was more impressive is that in those four games, Lewis posted two shutouts and allowed just four goals during the month. During the month, Lewis stopped 91 of a possible 95 shots, good for a 95.8% save percentage and his goals against average was 1.00.
Although Lewis currently leads the NAHL in goals against average, his first win of the season didn’t come until October 26th in a shutout win over Alaska. Prior to that, Lewis had allowed just nine goals in five games, but had yet to record a win. Once he posted the first win in late October, the flood gates of confidence seemed to open. “Hockey is a team game, and I knew my teammates had my back,” said Lewis. “I had been playing good, but felt I needed to take my game to another level. Wins are what matters most to me, so once the first one came, I think my confidence has gotten even better.”
Both of Lewis’s wins in the month of October were shutouts. He was almost as good in his losses, allowing just four goals in those two games. Lewis was named as the Combat Hockey 1st star of the week back on October 31st thanks to his back-to-back shutouts. “It was amazing he hadn’t won yet, but I was not worried because he has played so well since the start of the season,” said Wild head coach John Becanic. “Greg has played as good as we could have asked this season and it was nice to see him finally get those wins.”
The toughest test of the month for Lewis and the Wild came October 29th in Fairbanks against the defending Robertson Cup Champions. Lewis would not disappoint, stopping all 22 Ice Dogs shots for his second shutout of the week in as many starts in the second game of the series. “We were focused on winning more than the rivalry. We knew it would be a physical game, but we went up there with a great game plan that was centered around defense first and trying to take care of business, so it felt good to get a sweep and keep the momentum going.”
Lewis has been part of the best 1-2 goaltending tandem in the NAHL along with fellow Wild netminder Robert Nichols, something Lewis sees as good competition. “We push each other, but also support each other, because all we want to do is improve and win.” Lewis is #1 in the NAHL in goals against average with a 1.13 goals against average, while Nichols is #2. Conversely, Nichols is #1 in save percentage, while Lewis is #2 with a 95.2% save percentage. “When you see Robbie (Nichols) go out the game before you and put up a shutout or play really well, it motivates you,” said Lewis. “It’s the same way in practice. We know we are both starting goalies in this league and we want to keep pushing each other, and it is great to have someone of his caliber push you every day.”
Becanic sees the competition as good because it is benefitting the team as a whole. “I think we have a really good thing going with Greg (Lewis) and Robbie (Nichols) in goal,” said Becanic. “I have always emphasized teams with good goaltending and good team defense and this team has that right now. They know they are going to rotate their starts and can prepare accordingly. We don’t feel like there is any controversy because both have played so well to this point. They are both goalies that can play at the next level and we will continue to provide both of them with the opportunity to do that.”
Other goaltenders nominated were (alphabetical): Joe Ballmer, Jamestown Ironmen – Tommy Burke, Bismarck Bobcats – Tony Kujava, Janesville Jets – Ken MacLean, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Peter Megariotis, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Anthony Stolarz, Corpus Christi IceRays.
Previous Brian's Goaltender of the Month winners: September 2011-Tony Kujava, Janesville Jets
About Brian's Custom Sports
The Official Goaltending Equipment Supplier of the NAHL, Brian's has been a leading Canadian supplier of custom built goal equipment since 1984. The factory is located in Kingsville, Ontario near the Southern tip of Canada with ready access to supplying the North American market. As one of the original and remaining custom goal equipment manufacturers Brian's remains committed to continuing to lead the industry with exceptional design and quality. Visit Brian’s online here.