Karel St-Laurent determined to turn things around

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.
Karel St. Laurent spent time at the Vancouver Canucks' rookie and training camp this past summer. (Candice Monhollan)

Karel St. Laurent spent time at the Vancouver Canucks’ rookie and training camp this past summer. (Candice Monhollan)

It’s something he’s never experienced before in his years during juniors. The 20-year-old rookie from Ville Ste-Catherine, Quebec, now finds himself in a slump after allowing four or more goals in three of his last four starts and has been pulled in two straight games.

“I’ve never been through a slump like [this],” Karel St-Laurent said. “It’s a first for me and that’s maybe why it’s so hard to get back at it. I’m a little shaky out there.”

Reading Royals head coach Larry Courville believes in the young goaltender that was sent down to the club from their AHL affiliate Providence Bruins.

“There was a time when Karel was playing better,” Courville said. “I have to believe. He’s a 20-year-old kid. He’s on an American League contract.”

St-Laurent played his junior years in the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs where he had a goals-against average no higher than a 3.26 in his two full seasons and never dipped below a .901 save percentage.

He then finished his junior career with the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL in 2010-11 where he played in 32 games with a 2.74 GAA and .916 SP.

In his three seasons and a couple of games with the P-Bruins, he never had a losing record. That is, until now.

“Obviously I am not making the saves right now,” St-Laurent said. “I think it’s a confidence problem. I just try to come here every day and try to work hard and work on things that are not working well right now. [It’s] tough to describe. It’s one of the worst feelings. I feel like I’m letting my teammates down.”

Through seven games with the Royals this season, he has a 2-5 record with an unsightly 4.14 GAA and .879 SP.

“He’s been struggling for the last three or four games,” Courville said. “He knows it and he’s working hard in practice. Does he need to player better? Yes. He knows it.”

After starting the season 2-1, St-Laurent has now lost four straight games for the Royals. He has allowed 17 goals on 104 shots in those games and hasn’t made it to the third period in the last two.

Though the last three losses from St-Laurent have come on the road, the most recent – a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Express Friday night – was on home ice where the goaltender had to endure the boo birds inside the Sovereign Center in Reading.

“I know fans are pissed and I don’t blame them,” St-Laurent said. “How can you not hear it? You’re on the ice and there are thousands of people in the stands. But that’s part of the life of a hockey player. As an athlete, you’ve got to deliver. They paid their tickets and they want to see a good show and obviously I didn’t give them a good show.”

St-Laurent can’t fault the fans for the rough treatment he’s been receiving.

“They have all the reasons in the world to judge my game right now because it’s not good,” he said. “It’s not good enough. I’m just going to work hard. I’m not going to hang my head down. I’m just going to work harder and get back. It’s going to get back. I know I’m here for a reason. I know I’m a good goalie and I’m going to get better.”

With a big jump from juniors to a pro league like the ECHL, St-Laurent doesn’t believe it’s the reason behind his struggles.

“That step is huge,” he said. “I don’t put that as a reason for my struggling so far. I know I can make the saves and I’ve showed people that I can make the saves. I just have to get better at it and work harder and obviously I’m not happy with my game and it’s just tough to describe. It’s an awful feeling right now and I’m not going to get much sleep tonight. It’s going to get better, that’s for sure.”

Despite the rough times he’s going through, St-Laurent vows he can turn things around.

“I have a message for the fans,” St-Laurent said. “It’s going to get better. I’m not going to give up and don’t give up on me.”

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Categories: ECHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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