It’s not often that a team has two No. 1 goaltenders, but the Michigan Mountain Cats have just that in Bob Schultz and Schuyler Ferguson.
Playing in a rotation gives both goalies ice time and each of them has their own strengths that give the Mountain Cats a chance to win each time out.
“It’s great to have two No. 1 goalies,” said Mountain Cats head coach Chad Grills. “They compliment each other very well and both work extremely hard. They both have won us hockey games by themselves, making huge save after huge save. It’s a pretty good problem to have.”
But in looking at Schultz and Ferguson as individuals, it would be hard to find two more different kids away from the rink. On the ice, though, both are intense and have a winning, supportive attitude.
“With Bob and me, I don't know if it's so much a competition, but we definitely support each other and learn from each other,” Ferguson said. “We're polar opposites off the ice. He's a lot more laid-back and I'm much more serious, but we have a really good relationship, so competition isn't really the right word for it. I don't see Bob as a competitor necessarily, but more a teammate and a great goalie I can learn a lot from.”
Schultz was in agreement.
“We actually call ourselves the dynamic duo, if that tells you anything,” laughed Schultz. “He's very talented and I'm comfortable we can win every game when either of us is in the net. We both love to be in the net, but both of us love to support each other as well. We compete and encourage each other, which is definitely healthy. We both know what we have to do game in and game out and do our best to contribute to the team.”
And if playing in a rotation, much like coaches do in high school and minor hockey, means potential success, then so be it, according to both Schultz and Ferguson.
“I feel me and Schuyler are both very comfortable with our rotation,” said Schultz. “We have two goalies on the Mountain Cats, which is something we're both not used to, but love. Neither of us have to worry about playing time, so I believe that helps us to be comfortable and not so worried in the net.”
“The rotation with Bob is something I'm very comfortable with,” added Ferguson. “It's nice knowing exactly when I'm going to play and when I'm not playing, I know Bob has it covered.”
With Schultz being a 20-year-old and Ferguson just 17, the two formed an immediate bond and age didn’t play a role. In fact, Schultz has served as a mentor of sorts to Ferguson.
Both have options for the future, but with Schultz entering the final stretch of his junior career, he knows he’ll be making a decision shortly.
“I am the grandpa on the team, which means my junior career is slowly disappearing, but I'm not hanging the skates up yet,” boasted Schultz. “I will be playing college hockey next year. Not sure where yet, still trying to keep my options open.”
“In the short-term, I would love to play in the NAHL as soon as I'm given the opportunity, whether it be next season or later on,” explained Ferguson. “Long-term, I've always dreamed of playing college hockey, and to be able to do so would be an amazing opportunity both athletically and academically.”
Grills feels both of his netminders have a future in the game.
“Bob has the potential to move on to a school or move on to the pro ranks,” Grills said. “As for Ferguson, time will tell. He still has three years of junior left and if he continues to excel, the sky’s the limit.
“They both have big things in store for them. The pleasure has been all mine to see them grow this year.”
BATTLE CREEK JR. REVOLUTION: Leading scorer Justin Locante scored in each game last weekend against Cleveland and now has 11 goals on the season.
CHICAGO HITMEN: The Hitmen will welcome back top scorers Anthony Domico and captain Quentin Bicknase this weekend after each played the last month with the NAHL’s Hitmen.
CLEVELAND JR. LUMBERJACKS: John Jeziorowski scored his 10th goal of the season last weekend against Flint.
FLINT JR. GENERALS: The Jr. Generals added forward Shane Totten prior to last weekend’s games. Totten began the year at Finlandia University (MCHA) where he was a teammate of former Metro Jets defenseman and Traverse City (Mich.) High School teammate Vinnie Pietrangelo.
METRO JETS: Mike Moroso has scored 14 goals this year - 10 at even strength and four shorthanded. His four shorthanded tallies tie him for tops in the NA3HL.
MICHIGAN MOUNTAIN CATS: Top goal-scorer Jacob Endicott’s goal last Saturday night against Battle Creek was his first in six games.
PEORIA MUSTANGS: Byron Lomow has registered four points (two goals, two assists) in his last three games.
PITTSBURGH JR. PENGUINS: Jayson Angus had a monster weekend for Pittsburgh, scoring 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in two victories over Metro to leap atop the NA3HL scoring race with 55 points on the season.
QUAD CITY JR. FLAMES: Josh Prygon and Luke McCarthy scored in each of Quad City’s games last weekend in St. Louis.
QUEEN CITY STEAM: Matt Leon stopped 80 of 85 shots in the Steam’s sweep of Chicago last weekend.
ST. LOUIS JR. BLUES: Bo Eastman tallied two goals and two assists in St. Louis’ sweep of Quad City last weekend.
TOLEDO CHEROKEE: Defenseman Cory Bastian was traded to the NAHL’s Chicago Hitmen last Friday. Bastian had three goals and 25 points in 28 games with the Cherokee, good for third among all NA3HL blueliners. He was returned to Toledo on Wednesday.