By Len Bardsley
Jan. 13, 2006
Phil Osaer is pretty good at finding the positive in most situations. As a goalie who has been shipped around the country jumping from American Hockey League to ECHL teams, a positive attitude is a must.
Last season, Osaer was the No. 1 goalie for the Texas Wildcatters, who finished with a record of 17-44-11, yet Osaer still found positives from the experience.
“It was rewarding because I could be a leader on a young team,” said Osaer. “I got to play a lot too.”
Now that Osaer is with the one of the top teams in the American Conference, the Florida Everblades, you can imagine the 25-year-old from Livonia, Missouri is simply gushing. Osaer already has matched his win total of last season. He heads into the weekend with a mark of 10-3-2 with a 2.98 goals-against average. Last season, Osaer put together a record of 10-27-3, despite a respectable 3.10 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
“It is more fun to play,” Osaer said of this season. “If I give up a couple of goals it is not like we are going to lose.”
It has been a while since Osaer has had the opportunity to get regular playing time with a winning team. The last time Osaer earned more than 15 wins was during his rookie season of 2001-2002 with the Peoria Rivermen when he went 16-11-2.
“It is a pleasant transition to be a big part of things on a winning team,” Osaer said. “This is the best team I have been on when I was one of the starting goalies.”
Osaer’s strong play his rookie season earned him several call-ups to the AHL, including stints with Worcester, Hartford and San Antonio, but never as the main man, which made him grateful, despite the losses, for all the playing time with the Wildcatters last season.Osaer claims little has changed in his style of play since his rookie season, his save percentage has usually been over .910 since his rookie season no matter who he was playing behind.
“I have not changed that much,” he said. “I am a big believer a team can make a good goalie great and this team has done a great job for Greg Kowalski and me. Even if we are a little off we can still win 5-4.”