(Photo Credit: David Zammit / SCBroncos.com)
Our boy, Joel Hofer, has been facing an average of 49.5 shots per game as of right now.
Before we get started, take into consideration that some goals against are empty-netters. I won’t dive into that in this article, but what I will say is that Hofer has left for the bench at the end of 7 games for an extra attacker.
10 games into the Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 2018-19 season, Hofer and company are seeing some struggles to say the least with just 1 victory in that span. The Broncos needed OT to seal that comeback win. Hofer was able to save 53 of 55 shots that night to steal the game from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Final score: 3-2 Swift Current.
Unfortunately, they’ve lost the other 9 in regulation. On paper, it doesn’t look pretty.
To give you an idea of what Hofer is facing right now, I’ll summarize a few situations. Heads up. I’m jumping around a bit. I won’t be presenting these in chronological order. Simply sharing what catches my eye.
There was one particular game against the Vancouver Giants on October 16th. Hofer faced 71 shots in regulation. The Broncos were only able to put 16 shots on goal and had 19 faceoff wins to Vancouver’s 40. Swift Current took 7 penalties and allowed 3 power play goals. Final Score: 6-2 Vancouver.
Another contest that caught my eye while researching was the matchup against the Saskatoon Blades on September 22nd when the Broncos lost 8 zip. Joel saw 39 shots. Swift Current only put 17 shots on goal throughout the 60 minutes this time around.
On October 5th, the Regina Pats put 21 pucks on Hofer in the 1st period. Well, Hofer’s boys registered 29 shots on the game. Hofer saw 46 that night and was able to stop 40 of them. The final was 6 to 5 Regina. Tough break. (This analysis is based on statistics alone.) It’s possible this was a rough game for Hofer as he did allow 3 goals in the 3rd period.
October 21st, Hofer stopped 37 of 40 against the Prince George Cougars. The Broncos were only able to put 6 shots on net in the third period of that game. They were tied at 1 since the 1st, but the Cougars played their strongest at the end of the game when it counted, throwing 17 pucks at Hofer and capitalizing twice. Final Score: 3-1 Prince George.
Hofer currently has a 4.426 Goals Against Average and a .901 Save Percentage.
This looks to me to be a team that’s struggling to play consistently and disciplined.
I don’t feel these statistics are a good representation of our talented goalie prospect. I’m personally not worried about Hofer, but we’ll keep our eyes on him and have updates for you throughout the season. There will surely be ups and downs in a young goaltenders career, and success is a team thing.
However, we’d sure like to see better numbers than these… regardless. Hopefully, the Broncos can pull it together and make things a little more comfortable for Hofer. Pure speculation. I’m sure there are things that Hofer can be doing better, and this is a good learning experience. Facing adversity and learning to overcome it is important.
Let’s keep in mind that this kid just turned 18 in July. He’s got plenty of time to put things together. It’s not going to be a walk in the park when you’re on a struggling team. It’s an unfortunate, uncomfortable situation that he and his teammates have to deal with right now. They’ll all grow from this. Joel has lots to learn, but he’s far from a slouch in my eyes.
Here are Joel’s stats (game by game) thus far: (Courtesy of SCBroncos.com)