By Kelly Tomlinson
The Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, Pa. – Andy Chiodo knows just how Canada’s Olympic hockey players feel.
OK, so the Spengler Cup isn’t the Olympics.
But for Chiodo, a Toronto native, it was a rare opportunity to represent his country at an international tournament.
“It was such a great experience,” said Chiodo, Team Canada’s goaltender for the five-day, five-team tournament played in late December in Davos, Switzerland. “It was a great event. The hockey was really good. The fans, the atmosphere in Switzerland is amazing.”
Chiodo, who’s been wearing a Team Canada hat of late while on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench, helped the Canadians to a second-place finish in the tournament, which at 82 is the oldest ice hockey club team tournament in the world.
“The tournament was just a real breath of fresh air,” said Chiodo, who went 3-2, with both losses coming against champion HC Metallurg Magnitogorsk. “It was nice to play playoff hockey in December.”
In his three-year pro career, Chiodo has built a reputation as a big-game goalie.
He’s best known for his playoff heroics in 2004, when as a rookie he led the Penguins to the Calder Cup finals.
With the Penguins facing a first-round elimination game against Bridgeport, head coach Michel Therrien opted to start Chiodo in Game 5. Chiodo reeled off three consecutive wins and posted a 0.87 goals-against average.
In round two, against Philadelphia, two of Chiodo’s three wins were shutouts.
Last season, he helped author Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first-round upset of East Division champion Binghamton. After Marc-Andre Fleury’s meltdown in goal in Game 1, Chiodo took over, held the high-scoring Senators to 1.54 goals per game and got the Penguins out of the first round for the second consecutive year.