By Lindsay Kramer
Last spring, goalie Drew MacIntyre was one of the players responsible for ending the Manitoba Moose’s season. A year later, he could help extend it for quite some time.
MacIntyre, then playing for Grand Rapids, was the netminder who helped close out the Griffins’ win in Game 7 of a playoff series against the Moose. During the off-season, Manitoba picked him up in a trade to help its depth at that position. He’s done that and more, almost to the extent that the team can let that little issue in last year’s postseason slide.
In 30 games, MacIntyre is 17-8-2 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against. He’s helped nudge the Moose into first place in the North, posting a 16-4 mark in his last 20 decisions and going 18-consecutive starts without allowing more than three goals.
That’s some rebound for a player who isn’t so far removed from having the look of a journeyman goalie.
“Obviously, there are times when my confidence hasn’t been the highest,” MacIntyre said. “But I knew I could play at this level. Right now, I know I can play at the next level. It’s not a cockiness. You have to believe in your abilities.”
Especially when that belief is your lifesaver. Entering this season, MacIntyre, 23, had played in more contests in the ECHL (46) than in the AHL (37). But those numbers were more a reflection of Detroit’s goaltending depth than of MacIntyre’s ability.
To his credit, he chewed up his time in Toledo last season, with Jimmy Howard and former Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald entrenched in Grand Rapids. MacIntyre led the ECHL in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a goals-against average of 2.00 while going 5-1 with a save percentage of .924 in six games for Toledo. He led the ECHL in the regular season with a goals-against average of 2.06 and was third in save percentage at .926 while going 24-7-2 in 33 games for the Storm. He also played in the AHL for Grand Rapids where he was 8-4-1 with a goals-against average of 2.94 and a .897 save percentage in 13 regular season games and led the AHL in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a goals-against average of 1.62 while going 3-1 with a save percentage of .940 in five games.
“That was what I needed,” MacIntyre said of his time in “The Coast.” “I didn’t need to spend any more time on a bench. They (Detroit) appreciated how I handled the whole year. They said they’d cooperate if somebody wanted me (in a trade).”