Posted: December 9, 2014 by WolvesInsider in News, Sudbury Wolves News
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What a difference three months has made, and no one can attest to that more so than Samuel Tanguay. Three months ago he came to camp unknown, a free agent pick up, a kid that was playing in the OJHL, posting pretty stellar numbers, but just couldn’t really catch a big break.

One conversation with Bryan Verrault changed all that. Verrault extended an invite to Sam to come and compete for a job in Sudbury with the Wolves, but it wasn’t as easy of a decision as some might think.  “At first, I didn’t really know what to do. I had the choice to stay in Jr A (with the Kingston Voyageurs) and go the NCAA route, or come here. At the beginning of the year I had made the decision to stay in Kingston, that’s why I missed the first day of the Wolves camp, but right after everybody from Sudbury called me and asked me to come to camp, at least to try. So that’s what I did and I really don’t regret my decision now.”

In his draft year Sam was passed over by every team in his native province of Quebec, but instead of giving up, he just kept pushing for opportunities. If one door closed he went knocking on another door. It’s not in his nature to give up. He went from being undrafted, having really no where to play, to having a stint with the Gananoque Islanders where he was told if he wanted to play in the OJHL he needed to prove himself there. Well he did that and got the call up to come play with the Kingston Voyageurs, where he posted a .940 SAV % and a 1.79 GAA. Numbers that were enough to get him noticed by Bryan Verrault.

Coming to Sudbury and not seeing a ton of ice time in the beginning, Sam quietly began leaving an impression on everyone. Scouts are talking about him, and everyone is wondering exactly who he is. This is just what Sam wants. “I mean as a 19 year old rookie this is kind of my last chance to prove myself.” If you ask him what his plan is, he will tell you, he came here not to just be the second string to Troy Timpano. “I came here to be number 1. I wanted to prove myself and be one of the best goalies in the league.”

IMG_3116Going into the second weekend in December most nights it seems like it is a toss-up on who is going to get the call between the pipes, both Timpano and Tanguay are battling it out for the number one job.  When asked if everything went exactly how he planned over the next 2 years, what his end goal would be, Sam had this to say. “I’d like to come back here next year as an OA or go play in the AHL or the East Coast League. I never gave up before so I want to get to the next level now that I have the chance.” It really is that never give up attitude that will continue getting him the success that he craves. He has taken the long road to get here and I think it makes him appreciate it, all that much more than he would have at say 16 if he had gotten drafted when he should have been. “I have to do my best every time I’m on the ice, because I know it is my very last chance to realize my dream.”

As a team, the Wolves are what we will call struggling. As of today they sit at 5-22-1-0, which is the worst in the league. There have been some bright points to the season though. Take Matt Schmalz, who has exploded offensively for the team. Nathan Pancel, once again putting up very respectable numbers in his OA year. These are guys that have something to prove, just like Tanguay. Schmalz is in his draft year, Pancel has no more time to prove what he can do. They aren’t the only ones. Both Troy and Sam have both shown that they are capable of having great nights and making unbelievable saves. Sam has posted an .889 SAV% which when you take into account everything else, is quite respectable.

There is no denying that this has been a tough year for everyone. It’s hard going out every night and battling, and yet still coming up with the same negative results. Grinding it out in practice, making changes both on and off the ice. For now, the battle between the pipes continues. “Me and Timps (Troy Timpano) are pretty good friends. Of course when he plays and I think I should play I’m a little mad and same for him, but we can’t do anything about it.” This is exactly what can drive both of them to be better. There is nothing wrong with some friendly competition. It makes you want it that much more and makes you strive to be that much better. So for now, that number one spot seems to hang in the balance of who wants it more on any given night.

Wolves are back in action this weekend with games both Friday and Saturday night at home with the annual Teddy Bear toss taking place Saturday night. Come out and support a great cause.

You can follow Sam and his career on Twitter @tiger2933


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