by Warren Rappleyea
Bryan Landsberger is a big presence in front of the Ottawa Junior Senators net—6-foot, 5 ½ inches big if you’re counting—and that size combined with quickness has made scoring a difficult task for opposing teams.
He joined the team in October and stopped 24 shots in his first match, a 6-2 Ottawa victory over the visiting Navan Grads. He earned a shutout by turning aside 40 shots on the road against the Kemptville 73’s on November 1st and followed that up with 25 saves in a 3-2 home victory over the Kanata Lasers to earn the CCHL’s CCM Hockey Player of the Week award.
Overall, Landsberger has posted a somewhat misleading 10-13 mark in 22 games. However, he owns an impressive 2.59 goals against average to go with a nifty .907 save percentage.
“Bryan has been a stabilizing force in net for us,” said Ottawa General Manager and Head Coach Martin Dagenais. “He’s a quiet goaltender with a superb work ethic on the ice. He’s only 19 so he could be back with us next season. We’re really looking forward to seeing how he’ll react come playoff time. We will be relying on him to go as far as we did the last two seasons.”
Landsberger began the season with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Dauphin Kings, where he recorded a 10-8-2 mark with a 3.12 goals against average in 2018-19. When Dauphin acquired another goalie, Landsberger was the odd man out. Fortunately, Dagenais was alerted to the situation and in short order, the goaltender was wearing a Junior Senators jersey.
“There was a period of adjustment and I was going from a small town to a big city,” the netminder said. “Right away, I could see it was much faster hockey so I had to learn to adapt to the pace of the game and I really enjoy it now. You could also see that expectations are high here and that helped motivate me even more.”
A butterfly-style goalie, Landsberger relies on smart positioning and anticipation to thwart opposing attackers. His agility enables him to move side-to-side quickly and he is good with the catching glove.
“My goal is to give our team a chance to win every night,” Landsberger said. “If I’m in a good position it’s hard to beat me. While I’m always trying to improve every area of my game, I’m working to get better playing the puck.”
From the time he started playing, Landsberger has always been a goalie. The Montreal native learned much from his dad, Les, who regularly worked with his son and recorded games so Landsberger could continue to get better.
Landsberger is proud of his work ethic. He’s often one of the first Junior Senators on the ice for practice—and one of the last to leave the building. While he hasn’t patterned himself after any one particular player, when watching NHL games he tries to incorporate aspects of different goalies—especially the bigger ones—into his game.
Poise is another key attribute.
“I try to stay focused whenever I give up a goal,” he explained. “That’s part of the game and you have to work through it. To me, goaltending is such a mental game; you just have to play and try not to think too much. When the going gets tough it really doesn’t help the team when the goalie gets rattled.”
Although his team has struggled a bit for the past six weeks or so, Landsberger is confident he and his teammates will be ready come playoff time.
“There’s not a guy in our room who doesn’t think we can’t beat any team in the league in a series,” he said