At the start of the regular season you would think that the atmosphere of an arena would be fairly tame compared to a Stanley Cup Playoff game. Well, in Winnipeg that was definitely not the case! Jets fans were ecstatic when their team hit the ice at home since their first regular season game back on October 9th. Playing the all mighty Pittsburgh Penguins you would think the home town team would have a tough time squeezing out a win. Games like these are almost always won or lost by how well a team handless their emotions. At perfect display,  goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was a textbook example of this. At 18:22 of the second period, the Penguins scored their only goal of the game on a point shot from defenseman Zybanek Michalek. It is arguable that Pavelec should have earned a shutout as it was questionable whether or not goalie interference occured on the play.

Before hand, Pavelec had made a strong sequence of saves to help hold the Jets' two goal lead in the game. Typically, a goal like this may deflate a goaltenders momentum. Many goaltenders will change their mindset of being calm and confident to a panic and fear of failure state. Thoughts like "If I allowed this one, what else will I allow?" This is an aspect that every athlete must learn and treasure. No matter what your age, being in control of your thoughts, and having a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach will aid in your game being consistent.  As a goaltender your actions will always affect how your team plays in front of you, no matter what the score. With this being said, your team...your coaches... and scouts, will all view and take into account what type of goaltender you are by how you respond to different situations within a game. After the game, when the reporters had asked Pavelec about the goal and how the incident transpired he went on to described a humble perspective on the situation.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I didn’t see it yet, I think I was a bit outside the crease, the referee saw it, he was there, he didn’t call it, that (type of play is) what you need. We scored the second goal like that; we went in front of the net, we screened the goalie and scored a goal. Sometimes it is what it is, they are trying (to score as well) and they scored from that, they (got in front of me) twice, and (the refs) didn’t call it. I didn’t see it yet, I’ll have to see the video.” (Quote taken from IllegalCurve.com Article)

Monday night also had a different situation that provided an excellent representation of a positive approach to response to an in game situation. The Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury was pressured with an onslaught attack rush by the Jets late in the 3rd period. A possible breaking point for the game if Winnipeg was to score and make the game 3-1 with under eight minutes remaining. Fleury made an elbow shoulder save off the rush and then proceeded to make two saves low in tight. After the third save he was held helpless at the top of his crease with the puck being whacked at and bouncing up and over sky high down into the net. In desperate relief, Pens teammate Letang was able to touch down the puck out of harms way.

A close call that could have ended the game was followed with a happy tap on Letang's helmet by the Pens netminder.  What character! As the play was stopped shortly after the instant replay was displayed on the jumbotron above, his teammates watched the close call and Fleury's act of pride within his team. His players and coaches were able to respond in belief that they could still win the game, and were able to take more chances to strike a comeback as they knew that their goaltender was in control of his game.

Having a strong mental state of mind helps optimize a goaltenders performance and keep it controlled and consistent from game to game. The optimal zone of performance is when a goaltender has a winning attitude, meaning that they are dominant, confident, mentally strong and feeling invincible. Looking for more Mental Training Tips? Be sure to follow and visit GDI Prairies on Twitter to receive daily Mental Training Tips and insight on the position! 2009 Stanley Cup Champion, Marc Andre Fleury spent his two Team Canada World Junior experiences teamed up with GDI Founder Ian Clark. Clark was Team Canada’s Goaltending Consultant for four years garnering two gold medals and two silver medals during this stretch.