By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
Statistically speaking, the rise of Swan Valley Stampeders netminder Ethan Peterson throughout this season has been nothing short of spectacular – especially when you consider his beginnings.
His overall statistics for the year are nothing special – a 4.56 GAA (15th best in the MJHL), and an .877 save percentage. But when you delve deeper, you realize the Park River, ND native has developed into one of the premier goaltenders in the league.
After struggling early on this season with the rebuilding Waywayseecappo Wolverines, Peterson has found new life in the Valley. He didn’t get his first victory of the season until he suited up with the Stamps, and has now posted an impressive 7-3-0 mark with his new club. Even more notable is his GAA with the Stampeders – a miniscule 2.21 ‑ which would be good for second place in the league. His save percentage has also shot up since joining the Horsemen to an eye-dropping .939 rate.
His head coach Taurean White calls him “a great young man who has given us a chance to win each night. He’s very driven.”
Peterson’s recent play has not only aided the Stampeders in getting back into the playoff picture, it also earned him a Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week honour to start the month of February,
“It’s a real honour,” he said of his recent award. “I was pretty excited.”
Peterson said comparing his time with the Wolverines to that of the Stampeders is like comparing the ocean and the desert. While Wayway is a much-improved team now, they were a very green and at times overwhelmed squad while he was guarding the goal. His 0-15 mark with the Wolverines didn’t showcase his true potential which has been unlocked since joining the Stamps.
“It was a tough situation (in Wayway) – they were rebuilding, and I was kind of playing for my life,” said Peterson, who said he looks up to NHL netminders such as Jonathan Quick and Carey Price. “There wasn’t that much support, so when I was traded here to Swan, it was nice to get that support on the back end. It slows the game down a lot for the goaltender.”
A recent surge by the Stampeders – led in part by Peterson’s play – has them firmly in control of their own destiny as the season winds down. It’s an exciting time to be at the rink says Peterson.
“We had two really good games against Neepawa,” he said, referring to two key victories over the Natives; who they are battling for eighth place. “We were kind of up and down, but lately we’ve really seemed to come together as a team. We figured out what we need to do to compete with all teams.”
Peterson has long known about the MJHL, having grown up close to the Manitoba border. His father also spent some time in goal with the Portage Terriers in the late 1990s. And the North Dakota product feels the MJHL has been an excellent league for him to progress as a player.
“This is a league that promotes players to move onto the next level,” he said. “I want to go the college route and get a degree that will further my life past hockey. That’s definitely what I want to do.”