It has been an exciting and memorable day for a pair of NAHL goaltending alumni, who both are celebrating recent success in the National Hockey League. Ben Bishop (Texas Tornado) made his first start in an Ottawa Senators uniform last night, while Cal Heeter (St. Louis Bandits/Wichita Falls Wildcats) has signed with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
The 6-foot-7 Bishop, 25, scored a 7-3 victory with 25 saves in his Ottawa debut to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday, as Ottawa halted a two-game losing skid.
Bishop was pleased with his debut. “The guys played great in front of me,” said Bishop. “It was a bounce-back after a couple of losses and it felt good. I felt more comfortable as the game went on. It’s definitely different. My first (NHL) game in a year or so.”
Bishop was traded right before the NHL trading deadline to the Senators by the St. Louis Blues, whom he was drafted by in 2005, following his lone season in the NAHL with the Texas Tornado. During that season, Bishop backstopped Texas to the second of their three straight Robertson Cup National Championships and was also named to the NAHL All-Rookie team.
Watch video of Bishop’s post-game reaction.
In other NAHL alumni news, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers have signed their first collegiate in advance of spring. General Manager Paul Holmgren announced tonight the club inked Ohio State University goalie Cal Heeter to a two-year contract beginning in 2012-13. The two-year deal is worth $1.85 million. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound native of St. Louis, Missouri catches left.
Heeter, who is 23, played in 32 games this season for the Buckeyes in the CCHA, compiling a 13-11-5 record with a 2.45 goals against average and .918 save percentage. In four years of collegiate play (77 games), he has five shutouts with a career record of 37-27-7 and a 2.54. GAA and .915 save percentage.
Heeter played two full seasons in the NAHL with two different teams, the Wichita Falls Wildcats and the St. Louis Bandits. Heeter appeared in 31 games with Wichita Falls during the 2006-07 season. A year later in 2007-08, he backstopped the St. Louis Bandits to the first of three straight Robertson Cup National titles. He was also named to the NAHL All-North Division team during the 2007-08 season.