WINNIPEG - At the very least, Edward Pasquale has the right mindset when it comes to being a goalie.
"It's almost like a pitcher in baseball," said Pasquale, who is expected to get the start in goal for the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night as they open up the 2011 Young Stars Tournament against the San Jose Sharks. "The pressure is on you and if you make a mistake, you can't hide it. There's a lot of pressure but it's fun. You've got to carry your team on your back sometimes."
Pasquale, a fourth round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, got quite an introduction to the professional game last season.
Slated to spend a good portion of the season in the ECHL with the Gwinnett Gladiators, Pasquale was the benefactor of an injury to Thrashers starter Ondrej Pavelec and the falling out of favour that former Manitoba Moose goalie Drew MacIntyre endured with the Chicago Wolves last season before getting dealt to the Montreal Canadiens at the NHL trade deadline.
By the time his rookie season was complete, Pasquale had played 12 games in the ECHL and 24 more in the AHL.
"I kind of had an up-and-down year," said Pasquale. "I started off well in Chicago. It's your first year as a pro and you have to get it under your belt one day or another. It was tough, but you learn a lot of stuff and I'll take that into this year."
Pasquale didn't really delve into the specifics when asked which parts of his game he needs to improve in order to take his game to the next level.
"Everything," he said rather matter-of-factly. "I've got a lot of skill, that's what got me here. But you have to fine tune if you want to play at the next level."
In all likelihood, Pasquale will be pushing the more experienced Peter Mannino for playing time with the St. John's IceCaps this season.
But after what he went through a year ago, Pasquale knows that all he can do is stop pucks and the other things will take care of themselves.
He had no interest guessing where he currently stands on the organizational depth chart.
"I don't know, that's not my decision," said Pasquale. "I'm just here to make a good impression on the new management and see what happens."
Pasquale got his start between the pipes at a young age, basically out of necessity.
"At seven or eight, I was the youngest among my cousins, so I got thrown in goal for ball hockey and stuff like that. I wasn't a very good skater, so if I wanted to play, I had to play a different position."
IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge has watched a lot of game film of Pasquale this season and was encouraged by what he saw.
"He challenges the puck well, his lateral movement is very good," said McCambridge. "His puck-playing ability is pretty decent for a guy at his status. He's got some real positives, development-wise."