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Bolts resurgence lead by Goaltenders Written by Laci Bloomers - February 23rd, 2010

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Macon Woopee have both slowly climbed the standings in the CMHL and ICHF after horrendous starts to the season, and the GM of the organization credits the emergence of his goaltending for the success.

Steve MasonSteve Mason has played with a definate attitude since being overlooked in a mid-season review of potential rookie of the year candidates, and his numbers have been nothing short of fantastic.  

After Mason's win today over the Chicago Blackhawks, he is now sporting a  sparkling 2.65 goals against average on the season, along with a .901 save percentage and a 15-11-6 record.  Mason can add 3 shutouts to the totals as well, as he has wrestled the starting job away from Manny Legace in Tampa Bay.

Things are much the same in Macon, where the Woopee started the season with 3 goaltenders vieing not only for jobs in Macon, but potentially for the leading shot as a back-up to Mason next season in Tampa Bay.

As it turns out, it was the goalie who started the season as a free agent that has stolen the show.

Mike Brodeur did not have a job as the season got under way, and agreed to a deal with the Lightning organization despite the 3-man logjam already in place.  With Matt Keetley on the shelf coming out of the preseason, Brodeur joined a rotation that included Curtis McElhinney and Erik Ersberg.  It did not take long for Brodeur and McElhinney to establish themselves as the go-to guys, and from there the 27 year old simply took over.

Mike BrodeurWorthy of consideration at the All-Star break, Brodeur has put up some fantastic numers as the Woopee now sit at 67 points in 53 games.  Brodeur is working on a 2.40 goals against average to go with a 22-8-5 record.  Add to that a .903 save percentage with 4 shutouts and he is looking like a steal for the Ligtning.

McElhinney has not made it easy on him, playing very well when he has gotten the chance. 

Given that Ersberg is capable of more than he has had the chance to show, and that Keetley is developing nicely, the Lightning look to be building their goaltending from within.

Following along behind in the prospect ranks are yet another pair of developing save artists.  Kristofer Westblom is doing things the college way, as he has been minding the nets for Acadia while tending to his education.  The club will have to decide what to do with Westbloom, a former Kelowna Rocket, as he has to either be signed or let loose before next season.

Young Scott Stajcer is the starting goalie for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL.  While the Attack are not having the season they were hoping to, Stacjer has taken the starting job there in his 2nd season in the CHL.

- Laci Bloomers reporting -

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