How do you trade your top two defencemen and actually improve your win-loss record? If you’re the Moncton Wildcats, a 19-year-old goaltender named Roman Will has a lot to do with it.
Will, a Plzen, Czech Republic native in his first QMJHL season, helped the Wildcats go 14-12-2 in the new year after the team dealt Canadian world junior-star Brandon Gormley to the Shawinigan Cataractes and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Daniel Milan to the Victoriaville Tigres.
That .500 winning percentage was a slight improvement over the .450 mark they posted after starting the season 18-19-3.
“Our defence is very young and Roman has been a very important part of us keeping our goals-against down as we bring them along,” said Wildcats head coach Danny Flynn.
The six-foot-one Will, nabbed by Moncton with the 29th overall pick in last June’s Canadian Hockey League import draft, appeared in 63 of 68 games to help the Wildcats finish with the sixth-best team defensive record in the QMJHL.
He won 29 games and had a 2.77 goals-against average to go along with a .913 save percentage.
“Roman had an excellent season,” Flynn said. “We were really optimistic he’d come in and give us good, veteran goaltending, but he’s been even better than that. He’s been a real key.”
Meantime Devon MacAusland, one of the Moncton Wildcats’ key secondary scorers, is “questionable” for Game 1 because of an “upper-body injury,” according to head coach Danny Flynn.