The life of a backup goaltender can be difficult. No one knows this better than Drew Fielding, goaltender for the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Currently, Drew is one of the hottest goalies in the ECHL, finishing second in voting this week for the Goalie of the Week award. Drew has posted a 0.961 save percentage and miniscule 1.19 goals-against average. He has been named first star twice, and third star once, helping the Royals to a 3-0 record when he starts the game in net. The recent success did not come easy, as Drew has patiently waited his opportunity to show the hockey world what he can do.
Drew finished the 2015-2016 season in Adirondack, posting impressive numbers, with a 2.68 goals-against average and a 0.914 save percentage in 25 appearances Drew guided the Flames when injuries struck the goaltenders within the organization. As the 2016-2017 campaign kicked off, it was clear that due to a numbers crunch (six goalies signed in the Calgary Flames system) that there would not be a great opportunity for Drew to progress after a strong rookie season.
This season Drew spent time in Pensacola (SPHL), Toledo (ECHL), Brampton (ECHL), before landing a spot in Reading. Despite all of these stops, Drew rarely saw the ice, as teams rolled with their presumptive number one goalies. He remained sharp in practice, working tirelessly to maintain his goaltending level, in case the opportunity arose. Finally, in December, an unfortunate injury to the Royals starter gave way for Drew to come in.
Similar to last season, Drew seized the opportunity, posting a shutout in his first game back. He followed that up by guiding the Royals to two wins over his old squad, the Adirondack Flames, where he stopped 73 of 77 shots. A consummate professional through it all, Drew has demonstrated that hard work and patience really do pay off at the pro level.