Netminder, Alex Leclerc made an incredible 65 saves during Saturday’s Challenge Cup win over Belfast Giants and the young Canadian was pleased to make such a performance but thanked his teammates for their hard work and help to secure the victory.

By Kris Smith

The 24-year old stopped 96 per cent of the 68 shots he faced from a very strong Giants team and Leclerc admitted playing well against them was a challenge he welcomed.

He said: “We were playing against a very skilled team and Belfast have guys that have played at quite high levels in terms of professional hockey.

“I embrace those challenges and the team does too, as competing against guys who have played to the highest levels is not only an honour but a chance to prove to yourself that you are as good as them and that’s what we did on Saturday night.”

Alex has been involved in similar games before but couldn’t recall facing as many shots as he did in the SSE Arena last Saturday.

Leclerc commented: “I am pretty sure that it’s the most shots recorded I’ve seen in my career since juniors but I have had a few games where the shot count was high, but 68 is definitely the highest I have experienced.

“Over a shot a minute is pretty cool when you look at it afterwards but the most important thing is just to get the win and we got the points to stay at the top of our challenge cup group.”

 

Alex Leclerc, Dundee Stars,

 

The Quebec native also said that playing a game like that was a rewarding experience for him during his rookie season.

“It is very rewarding for me personally because I have a lot of predetermined goals that I want to achieve throughout the season”, said Alex.

He continued: “The first goal that I have is to bring the best game I can to the team and give the team the best chance to win every night.”

However, the Colorado College graduate had plenty of thanks to give to his teammates who stopped even more shots coming through to him.

“I can’t speak enough about how much the guys helped me and how much we all helped each other throughout the last two games.

“The way we play is key to having success and blocking shots and lanes is a major part of that in our defensive zone.

“They help me tremendously even if it’s blocking shots or blocking passing lanes and that is limiting the puck carrier’s options.

“Because the defenders are forcing him wide, that means he has a reduced angle to shoot from and that makes those chances become less dangerous, which makes a big difference, not just for my job as a goaltender but for the result.

“As we seen from the past weekend, if we bring our best defensive game every night then we can accomplish great things.”

The two big victories were made even sweeter for Stars as they found ways to win despite having three players out with injury.

Alex Leclerc, Dundee Stars,

 

 

Discussing how the wins felt even more special given their injury circumstances, Leclerc said: “When we learned that Jagger (Dirk) wasn’t going to be playing, it not only surprised everybody that he was unable to play but more so that we were going to be that short-staffed in the defence so early in the season.

“It is not something that we expected as a group but everybody had to step up their game a notch and that’s what happened.

“It was awesome to see not only defenseman but forwards coming down low to help out the defensive core even more and playing a key role in our success by blocking shots and blocking passing lanes or taking second opportunities away from the opposition.

“So, the result was awesome and I think the best feeling you can get as a hockey player is probably the feeling of winning a tough hockey game and that is exactly how we felt after the game in Belfast.

“Now it’s onto Guildford next weekend and we just want to do the exact same thing in terms of results.”

The Kitmart Dundee Stars face the Guildford Flames this weekend for the first time in the 2019/20 season and it is in back-to-back games.

Tickets for Saturday’s home game are available HERE and it will face-off at 7pm.

 

Pictures by: Derek Black and William Cherry.

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