The New York Islanders’ Al Montoya is sure to get a roaring ovation tonight when he starts between the pipes against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
Al Montoya was handed the starting duties tonight in his home town tonight, but has earned it with his solid efforts so far this season.
That’s because Montoya is expected to have his own cheering section, as a native of the suburb Glenview, Ill.
Montoya grew up going to Blackhawks games when Ed Belfour anchored the crease.
Now, Montoya will complete his dream playing in the same building he frequented.
Montoya has been pretty stellar this season despite a poor Islandres’ record at 7-11-4 and 18 points.
The 26-year-old and former Michigan Wolverine is 4-3-1 this season with a GAA of 2.006 and save percentage of .933.
“This will be our biggest test, no doubt. Coming into a building like this and they’ve lost a couple games (lately), they’re going to be desperate. I feel strong. I’m confident. I know what I can do. It’s just about going out there and playing my game and playing strong. The team’s been playing well and buying into the system. We’re growing and we’ve got to grow fast. … I was one of those goalies who was active and did whatever you could do to stop the puck, even though maybe you weren’t in the right position. I really honed my game over the first four years (in the minors), putting it all together. Everything happens for a reason and I’m a true believer of that. My goal was to make it to the NHL, no matter how I got here. That was my goal. Of course there’s pressure, but I enjoy it. That’s why you play goalie.”
Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page.