Oak Lake’s Riley Wallace enjoys the challenge of guarding the crease.
“I like the pressure of being a goaltender and being the last line of defense,” the son of Tod and Penny Wallace said. “Being able to lead and have an impactful role is also my favourite part about being a goaltender.”
Wallace is entering his third season playing for the Minot (N.D.) State University men’s hockey team. The MSU Beavers are a perennial power in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I ranks.
This coming winter Wallace will once again be counted on to be an important contributor. MSU head coach Wyatt Waselenchuk said that the 5-foot-9, 150-pound netminder’s strengths are his positioning and rebound control.
“He moves laterally very well, and never seems to be caught out of position,” the coach said. “He is very fluid in his movement. He is also a pretty easy-going kid in terms of his preparation - he is composed and confident in his approach, which has really contributed to his success here at Minot State.”
Wallace is coming off a strong second season with the Beavers. Last winter Wallace posted a team-best 16-1 record. He had a 1.52 goals against averaged and a .928 save percentage.
“My second season at MSU was a different then my first because I was able to put in a lot of work in the summer and come in good shape,” he said. “Coming in as a sophomore, I wanted to lead by example. I also played more games which also helped my confidence which allowed me to improve my game drastically.”
Waselenchuk said he was impressed with Wallace’s confidence in his second season.
“Whether it was against a quality opponent here in Minot in front of our home crowd, or on the road at a school like Liberty (University in Lynchburg, Va.) - in front of 4,000 fans - he was confident and kept his emotions in check, which really brought a great deal of confidence to our group in front of him.”
Wallace enjoyed the travel the MSU hockey team was able to do last season.
“My favourite places that we visited (last) year were Arizona and Chicago. Love the warm weather in Arizona and it was cool to see a big city like Chicago coming from a small town,” said Wallace, who is studying corporate fitness/business at MSU.
Growing up, Wallace developed his game locally and in the Southwest Cougars organization. He played a season and a half for the Virden Oil Capitals in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Before heading to Minot, Wallace capped his junior career with the Invermere, B.C.-based Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
“My family support has been amazing throughout my whole hockey career,” Wallace said. “I’ve been close to home and far and no matter what they always find a way to make it to my games and support me.”