ST. CLOUD, Minn. — When Joe Lamoreaux made his college debut for the St. Cloud State men's hockey team in an exhibition game on Sunday, Oct. 6 and saw 16 shots in about 42 minutes of work, it was a bit of a shock.
Lamoreaux played the last two seasons of junior hockey for the Madison Capitols, who finished with the second-worst record in the United States Hockey League in 2018-19. But the upside for a goalie looking to move up to the college ranks is that Lamoreaux saw a lot of shots. Last season, he faced more shots than any goalie in the USHL (33 per game) ... and it wasn't that close. Consider this: the goalie with the second-most saves in the USHL last season was Fargo's Ryan Bischel. Lamoreaux had 122 more saves than Bischel, who played in 13 more games.
So the 16 shots he faced against the University of Alberta must have felt lonely.
"It was different, for sure and I've got to adapt to that," Lamoreaux said with a smile. "There was a lot less energy released in that game. It got me ready."
Ready or not, Lamoreaux could see his first regular season time in NCAA Division I hockey this weekend. The No. 7/8-ranked Huskies open their regular season with a nonconference series this weekend against Bemidji State at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn. The games are at 7:07 p.m. Friday and 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
1st regular season game
Lamoreaux will be the backup for the Huskies in at least Friday's game, according to head coach Brett Larson. Larson said he plans to start junior David Hrenak in goal for the first game "and then we'll see what happens from there."
The last two seasons, Hrenak has started the majority of games, appearing in 56 of the 79 games (71 percent) in that span. With the graduation of backup goalies Jeff Smith and David Zevnik, the Huskies went into fall camp with two newcomers in Lamoreaux and Jaxon Castor battling for playing time.
Castor made two saves in 18 minutes in the exhibition before suffering a lower body injury. Because of the injury, he will not be in uniform this weekend.
"Hopefully, he'll be out no more than a couple weeks at the most," Larson said. "It's disappointing because he played really well in the game.
"He's been really good. He's got good size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and you can see why, at one point, he was on the NHL watch list," Larson said of Cantor, who played junior hockey for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Shreveport Mudbugs. "He's got a lot of physical talent."
Hrenak sat out the exhibition with a minor injury. Lamoreaux started the exhibition and the plan was to play him half the game and Cantor the other half, but Cantor got injured.
Larson, though, was pleased with what he saw when Lamoreaux was in.
"(Lamoreaux's) really athletic and, talking with Matt Bertram — our goalie coach — and he's a sponge, trying to learn and take it all in and get better every day," he said. "When you've got an athletic goalie like that, who wants to be coached, there's a lot of upside there.
"He's good on his angles and he's got good size (6-1, 185), but when he does have to move laterally, that athleticism helps."
Lamoreaux does not depend on that athleticism alone, though. He tries to stick to some fundamental things in net.
"I keep it simple, sticking to making those easy saves and keeping it easy on the team, taking care of rebounds," said Lamoreaux, who was in the top six in the USHL in minutes played and games played by a goalie last season. "I just do whatever it takes to win games for the team."
Lamoreaux, 20, grew up in Shorewood, Wis., which less than a 20-minute drive from Milwaukee. He played several seasons in the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals AAA program before moving on to spend the last two seasons with Madison in the USHL.
In November 2018, he committed to play for the Huskies. He said that he had some minor discussions with the University of Wisconsin, but sounds like he was sold on St. Cloud State pretty early in the recruiting process.
"There were a few schools that were interested, but when St. Cloud started showing interest, my eyes went straight to them," said Lamoreaux, who plans to major in real estate. "After I visited, it was a done deal. I just knew I could spend four years of my life here.
"Their success last year was unbelievable and they've been so successful of late," he said of the two-time defending NCHC regular season champions. "When I got here, the team just made me feel like I was at home. The players and coaches were so welcoming and are awesome guys and I wouldn't want to go anywhere else, honestly."
With the way Larson is talking, he better be ready for a consistent battle for playing time this season.
"We've got a really interesting situation with three really good goalies this year," Larson said. "It's going to be good because it's going to push them all to get better with competition every single day in practice. It's a unique problem, but a good one."
Mick Hatten can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @MickHatten on Twitter, Instagram.