Welcome to Class 2A boys’ high school hockey, Matt Foss.
Foss, a senior goaltender, moved to Lakeville from Northfield, a Class 1A program, and had a Class 2A debut worth forgetting.
Foss gave up three goals on five shots against Stillwater on Tuesday, forcing Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner to pull him. The Panthers lost the game 6-5, ending their 31-game win-streak from last season.
Although Foss’ performance against the Ponies was poor, he still may be the answer for Lakeville North at goaltender. Look no further than former Panther goaltender Ryan Edquist as to why.
Edquist came to Lakeville North in 2014-2015 and quickly became one of the top goaltenders in the state, ultimately propelling the Panthers to a 31-0 state championship season. Edquist, a University of Minnesota commit, shut out eight opponents in the regular season, giving up 1.43 goals per game.
Most high schools hockey fans think of this Edquist, who now plays in the USHL, when his name is mentioned. Many forget, though, the start he had to the season.
Edquist made his debut for the Panthers against section 1AA rival Farmington. In the game, Edquist struggled to stop most Tiger shots, giving up five goals as Lakeville North snuck past Farmington in overtime.
I remember the reaction of fans quite well.
“This guy is a University of Minnesota commit?,” one said.
“Is he going to be able to stop anything,” another said.
Fans asked these questions, among others, in the days following the Panthers close victory at Schmitz-Maki arena. I didn’t pretend to have the answer to his struggles, but I said the same thing to almost every individual who asked me a question about Edquist.
Just be patient.
I didn’t know Edquist would have the season he ended up having, but I knew one thing: one game doesn’t define a goaltender.
Edquist didn’t look confident against Farmington, often looking nervous. Foss likely had nerves against the Ponies, and similar to Edquist, Foss struggled to suppress them.
Lakeville North will need to figure out how to help Foss with these nerves similar to how it helped Edquist.
“Something we will have to do with (Foss) this year is tell him he needs to stay calm in the net and make a few good saves and let the game come to him,” said defenseman Keaton Pehrson in the offseason.
Add in the fact Foss played with a defensive corps made up of four new starters, which includes Pehrson, and growing pains are expected.
Edquist had the luxury of playing behind a defense with four seniors, two of which are Division-I defenseman and another who currently plays in the juniors. The fourth, Angelo Altavilla, also could have likely played college hockey, but he chose to play Division-I baseball for Nebraska.
The 2015-2016 defense in front of Foss has talent, but it is far from established similar to the 2014-2015 defense was when Edquist joined the team.
I’m not saying Foss will go on to play at an all-state level similar to how Edquist played. But, one bad game from Foss doesn’t necessarily equate to a bad season.
Edquist and Lakeville North know this all too well.