Meet Ruan Badenhorst. With Mac Blackwood out with an injury that hasn't really been addressed yet, Badenhorst has been "fed to the wolves". Well, we are not playing Sudbury til later this week but you know what we mean.
We have not had Blackwood in net since October 13th when the Colts lost to North Bay. When Blackwood was first injured, both backups Dan Gibl and recently acquired Jordan DeKort had to step up to fill in. Sounds like a huge chance for both guys to step up, right?
Yeah, about that... In the 6 games those two were to fill in, the Colts have won only 2 games. Which is a miracle, considering between the two, they let in 29 goals in those 6 games. Let that sink in for a second..
All season, the Colts have had 2 major issues...
1) Penalties... So many terrible penalties. Right now they are the highest penalized team in the OHL with 295 penalty minutes.. What happens when you take lots of bad penalties? The second issue the team has had this season.
2)Being out shot. The Colts have been out shot nearly every game this season. And many times, it has been in the double digits.
The team managed to hang in there because Blackwood stood on his head. But when he ended up injured, and neither Gibl and DeKort stood up to fill in the Colts had to dig into their baby teams to find someone to hopefully step up.
I introduced you to Ruan Badenhorst, already, right? Everyone say hi!
Ruan was brought up this weekend because, well clearly the Colts were desperate. He played in the last 2 games of the weekend. Was he bad? Well, he played no worse than the rest of the team.
In the 2 games played with the Colts, the Tiny Township native was not given an easy welcome to the OHL. 87 shots were fired his way in those 2 games. He was also forced to kill off 16 penalties in those two games. Not the warmest welcome to the team.
With little help in his end and only so much help scoring it needs to be said that the kid did alright. The scores of both games as well as the Win/Loss record do not reflect his game at all.
Earlier we mentioned 16 times being shorthanded. Well, 11 of those penalties were taken in Saturdays game against Guelph. The Storm only managed to score on one of those chances and it ended up being the goal that tied the game before the Colts lost in Overtime.
It is easy to look at the goals against and the record and not be excited about Badenhorst but you need to consider that he is still a new goalie to the OHL. It is a huge jump and there will be a period of adjustment. Especially when the team in front of you generally is outshot heavily.
He truly has a tall order in front of him. But it is not only his responsibility to get wins. He has kept the team in the past two games for the most part and made a few huge saves in both games when he needed to.
With time and practice, he can get much better. One issue has been his size. When you are used to having the massive 6 foot 4 Mac Blackwood in net, seeing his 5 foot 8 backup is a bit of a different thing to see. When he is down on his knees, there is a lot of net to shoot at for the opposing team. It is critical for defenders to keep the front of the net clear and to jump on rebounds to make sure there are no second chances.
There has been no word yet on Blackwoods condition so right now it is a bit of a waiting game. Though we hope that one of these goalies will stand up and fill in, right now it looks like our best option is to try to help develop this up and comer who has shown signs of potential, especially when his contending back ups are not showing that they want the job. Size isn't a long term issue, he is 16 and will grow. Developing his skills now will make it easier for him to transition to this styyle of hockey when his body mass builds up.
What are your thoughts and how do you evaluate Ruan's first couple games with the Colts? Let us know the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter!