Confident Stolarz Earns NHL Call Up

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Anthony Stolarz has fared well in the AHL so far in 2015-16. Photo: Nina Weiss
After an up-and-down rookie season, goaltender Anthony Stolarz spent his entire summer in Voorhees, NJ just about 45 minutes down the road from his home in New Jersey - working with then strength and conditioning coach Ryan Podell.

At Flyers Development camp in July, he talked about wanting to be more consistent - recalling that very up-and-down spring he had last year as a 20-year-old rookie making the jump from junior hockey to the American Hockey League.

It's only been six weeks into the regular season, but so far so good for Stolarz in 2015-16. His record of 5-3 isn't eye-grabbing, but the fact that he hasn't allowed more than three goals in any of his eight starts and has given his team a chance to win in every game he has played is a positive sign he's working towards being a more consistent goaltender.

"[Stolarz] played tonight the way he has played all season," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said following Friday night's 7-1 win over Rochester. "He's been real consistent." 

Starting the season in a backup role behind veteran Jason LaBarbera, Stolarz was able to get in a few games in October due to LaBarbera's frequent movement between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley. He wasn't getting the results, going 3-2 in the month of October, but his then goals-against average of 1.82 and .920 save percentage was indicative of how strong his play in net had been.

"The thing I like about what he's been doing is if he's not controlling his rebounds he's tracking them really well and is always prepared for the 2nd shot," Gordon said, adding That in of itself has made the game easier for him."

In November, Stolarz was able to take over the starting role - manning the nets in all three games last week, a week which saw the Phantoms go 2-0-1. It was the first time on the season Stolarz has appeared in back-to-back games and he handled it well.

"Right now, things are clicking," Stolarz said after Friday's 7-1 win. "We are working on all cylinders. The PK has been good, the PP has been great and the guys in front of me have been doing a great job of clearing pucks out and letting me see the shot," he added modestly.

General manager Ron Hextall has preached patience with all of the prospects in the system, Stolarz included. There's no guarantee his call up to the Flyers will see him make his NHL debut - he's backing up Steve Mason tonight - but just to get the nod and practice in the NHL should do wonders for an already confident goaltender.


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