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HACKETT THRIVES ON PRESSURE IN GOAL

From a young age, Matt Hackett knew that he wanted to be a goaltender

Thursday, 07.25.2013 / 2:26 PM / Features
By Chris Ryndak  - Sabres.com (@chrisryndak)
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HACKETT THRIVES ON PRESSURE IN GOAL
Growing up, Matt Hackett always wanted the pressure of being a goaltender. He would watch his uncle play on TV and knew that that\u2019s what he wanted to do. His uncle, Jeff, who played 500 games in the NHL over 15 seasons as a goalie, talked to Hackett\u2019s parents and thought that he\u2019d be better off as a forward because being a goaltender might be too stressful. Eventually, though, Hackett\u2019s parents gave in.
Matt Hackett

Growing up, Matt Hackett always wanted the pressure of being a goaltender. He would watch his uncle play on TV and knew that that’s what he wanted to do.

His uncle, Jeff, who played 500 games in the NHL over 15 seasons as a goalie, talked to Hackett’s parents and thought that he’d be better off as a forward because being a goaltender might be too stressful. Eventually, though, Hackett’s parents gave in.

“I guess I bugged them enough and they finally bought me a pair [of pads],” Hackett said.

Hackett, the Buffalo Sabres’ 23-year-old goaltending prospect, joined “Sabres Hockey Hotline” with Kevin Sylvester and co-host Andrew Peters on Thursday and talked about thriving on pressure.

“That’s the part that makes it so much fun I think, having the pressure on your shoulders at the end of a game or in a tie game,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, I really enjoy it and that’s what makes goaltending so special.”

The Sabres acquired Hackett when they traded captain Jason Pominville and a 2014 fourth-round pick to the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline in March. Buffalo also received forward Johan Larsson, a 2013 first-round pick (used to select defenseman Nikita Zadorov) and a 2014 second-round pick in the deal. Initially, the move caught Hackett off-guard.

“It was very exciting. I didn’t see myself getting traded but once I did, it’s a fresh start to prove myself. It’s nice to be wanted around the League,” he said. “I’m excited to prove them that they made the right choice by trading for me. I’ll come to camp ready to go.”

That’s the part that makes it so much fun I think, having the pressure on your shoulders at the end of a game or in a tie game.Matt Hackett

Hackett was assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League after the trade was completed. He appeared in three regular season games with the Amerks and started Game Two of the team’s first-round playoff series against Toronto. He served primarily as the backup for David Leggio, who signed a two-way contract the Washington Capitals this summer.

“David’s a great guy. I had fun playing alongside him,” Hackett said. “He played basically all the games to that point so I didn’t expect to come in there and steal a spot. I just knew to be a good teammate and to jump in there and make saves whenever I was called upon.”

The Sabres have plenty of goaltenders currently in their professional ranks. Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth are in Buffalo. Hackett, Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen are likely to be joined by Andrey Makarov in Rochester. Hackett is looking to distinguish himself during training camp in September and make a case to be on the NHL roster.

“My goal is to come into camp and prove that I can play at the NHL level and give them a tough choice to make,” he said.

Hackett also said that Jeff and the experiences he’s shared have been extremely beneficial to him as he works to improve his game.

“He’s been giving me pointers here and there,” Hackett said. “Not just on the ice, but off the ice as well, so he’s been very helpful to my game.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82