Buffalo – At the age of 20, goalkeeper Antoine Colombe was not invited to an NHL team camp. He hoped his performance over the past year would convince an organization, but he had to be patient.
“I thought I would have a chance to get invited by a team in the season I just learned about. But after enlisting, I wasn’t invited to a development camp so I didn’t really know,” goalkeeper Shawinigan Cataracts admitted.
When the Canadian finally gave him a mark, in light of the Junior Championships at Buffalo, the excitement came to erase the bad feelings of that expectation.
Thus, he was commissioned, Sunday, to meet the hopes of the senators in Ottawa and well absolved himself of his task. Without being threatened too often, he made some good saves and his position seemed appropriate.
A Colombian is a realist, he knows he still has a lot to prove to impress surrounding Canadians. But the progress that has been shown, especially in recent times, has been worth testing.
“From 16 to 17, he really progressed. And when I came back with Shawinigan, he was 19 and he was really a different guy! He’s not that tall, but he has a presence in front of his net,” Cats coach Daniel Reno said.
“We were in the reconstruction phase when we started. You want, you don’t want, it wasn’t honest to evaluate it on gains or numbers.”
Coulomb has been very honest about this season of learning the hard way.
“My first year was really tough and it took me a while to recover and regain my confidence and consistency,” the five-foot-ten guard admitted.
Last season, the Colombian was able to have fun as he dreamed. Solid in the net for the Cataractes, he helped his team win until his participation in the Memorial Cup and here’s how it went.
“To be 100% honest, his biggest advance has been between the ears. At 16-17 he can give an extraordinary performance, but he can also be a good start to the game and fall apart after scoring a goal. Renaud targeted a lot of maturity in that aspect.
“I started working with a mental trainer two years ago,” Colombian explained.
It remained an essential part of the equation in which he had to invest the effort.
“The other thing we worked with a lot with, and hats off to Antoine, was his physical condition. He didn’t attach much importance to that, or maybe he didn’t have all the concepts. From last year there was a big change at the end of November,” Renault explained.
Like ‘I want to give myself a chance, I want to be number one on the winning team and try a pro camp. He took himself in his hand and tasted a little, ”the coach continued.
Working on this mental and physical alloy, Colombian discovered that he was able to play well under pressure and be more consistent.
“He’s a very hungry goalkeeper to stop the disc. He’s never been hit, and he’ll never give up a game. However, sometimes he ends up being too forward in the shot and it becomes difficult to get to the next step.
On Saturday, at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, we saw him hone the technical elements under the guidance of goalkeeper coach Marco Marciano. And when he ran away from the little boy that Marciano released, the Colombian had to hook up push-ups.
During his few days with the Habs, he received valuable tips that come in addition to the work done with Steve Mongrain, Shawinigan’s goalkeeper coach.
“I’ve been working with Steve for five years, we’ve built a good relationship and he’s always following new directions,” Colombe said.
This is an essential part because a Colombian should definitely spy on goalkeepers with a physique similar to his. Because of his bias against goalkeepers under six feet, he has to find every technical, physical and psychological trick that stands out.
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