Goalie’s patience finally pays off

UND goaltender Matt Hyrnkiw continues to impress as the backup has recorded a 5-0-1 record. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

Good things come to those who wait and junior Matt Hrynkiw is a prime example.

After two years of being a backup goaltender for the UND’s men’s hockey team, Hrynkiw finally has had his chance to show what he can bring to the table.

After coming in as a substitute to Cam Johnson way back on October 16, the junior from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan has been as solid as he can get, posting a record of 5-0-1 with an average of 1.48 goals against a game and a .942 save percentage.

Preparation was key for Hrynkiw as he prepared day in and day out to be ready to for the chance to become the starting goalie for the team.

“I came in each day trying to improve to be ready for ultimately that one opportunity and whenever it came I knew that what I was working towards would pay off.” Hrynkiw said.

But now that he is the starter, Hrynkiw hasn’t changed his gameplan and continues to practice towards being even better.

“Yeah the results are nice but I feel like the process that I’ve use carried over,” Hrynkiw said. “I’m taking the same approach to have as good a practice as possible and that’s translating into some good results. The team has been a huge help too. They play so well in front of me and it makes the transition easier I think.”

Despite how sudden and unexpected the jump from backup to starter was, Hrynkiw never faltered or lost sight of what was happening.

“Generally I’m a pretty focused person. I’m very much in the moment and there’s guys around here that encourage you. Karl (Goehring) is a huge help,” Hrynkiw said.

The junior also claims how his love for the sport helped him stay focused his freshman and sophomore years.

“Generally I just love coming to the rink every day,” Hrynkiw said. “It’s not a task for me. I look forward to those three hours coming to the rink to stop pucks and to work at it. It’s something that highlights my day and got me away from school, gave me a mental break and I would back at it after that.”

All eyes will be on Hrynkiw and company as the team will be back home this weekend after an extensive four weeks of being on the road.

The Green and White will host the University of Wisconsin Badgers. The two teams go way back when both were in the WCHA and the rivalry will certainly continue now. Hrynkiw is well aware of the matchup but isn’t giving much extra thought as he sees it as any other game.

“I feel it’s just another game but I think the atmosphere will be pretty phenomenal,” Hrynkiw said. “We’ve been on the road for four weeks and to coming back to the Ralph, you know it’ll be bumping around here and I’m pretty excited. I think our whole team is, to get back out on that ice in front of our home fans. That’s a highlight for us for sure.”

The first game is set for Friday night at 7:37 p.m. at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Jack Harvey is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]