It should be to no one's surprise that Taylor Gauthier has taken on a big chunk of the workload between the pipes since coming onto the Prince George hockey scene in 2017.
If there was ever a fact or a number to prove that statement, it came Wednesday night (April 14) on the scoreboard!
Despite the Cougars enduring a 5-0 loss to Kamloops, the 20-year-old reached a career milestone that only two active goaltenders in the entire Western Hockey League (WHL) have accomplished as of this publication (April 15).
Gauthier surpassed the 4,000-save mark, reaching a to-date total of 4,014 since his debut on Sept. 23, 2017, out of 4,449 pucks he's faced.
Last night, he matched his jersey number in making 35 saves on 40 shots from the Blazers, his second-busiest match of the 2020-21 B.C. Division hub season.
The one active netminder who stands slightly taller in career-saves is Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades, who, coincidentally, was Gauthier's Canadian teammate in Sweden at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Hockey Championships.
The top 10 active goaltenders leading the WHL in career regular-season saves are as follows:
- 4,018 = Nolan Maier (SAS)
- 4,014 = Taylor Gauthier (PG)
- 3,954 = Ethan Anders (RD)
- 3,830 = Max Paddock (PA)
- 3,563 = Dustin Wolf (EVT)
- 2,960 = Adam Evanoff (VIC)
- 2,837 = Isaac Poulter (SC)
- 2,554 = Roddy Ross (REG)
- 2,236 = Carl Tetachuk (LET)
- 1,954 = Jack McNaughton (CGY)
Gauthier's career save percentage sits at .902 in the four years since the 2017-18 rookie campaign.
In 2019-20, despite the tail-end's cancellation by COVID-19, was the Calgary, Alta. product's career season that helped reached this week's notch on the résumé, which included a league-high 2,870 playing minutes and the second-most saves at 1,537.
He also recorded a save percentage of .917 last year, the highest in a single season by any Prince George Cougars goaltender in the team's 26-year history.
Thus far, Gauthier's all-time WHL record sits at 40-77-8-8 through 141 games, currently owning a 1-3 record in the 2020-21 shortened season.
The WHL's all-time record-holder for most saves in an entire career is Calvin Pickard, currently a member of the Detroit Red Wings.
He tallied 7,727 saves in 241 games between 2008 and 2012, all spent with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The seven-year NHL veteran has second-place in that category beat by nearly 800 saves; fellow T-Bird alum Danny Lorenz recorded 6,958 between 1986 and 1990.
The Prince George Cougars are back in action tomorrow night (April 16) in Kelowna against Victoria, as well as Saturday (April 17) in Kamloops against the Rockets.