Signed Portland Winterhawks goalie Dante Giannuzzi played two games at the CSSHL Championships on Thursday and Friday. The 2002-born Manitoba native is playing for Rink Hockey Academy (RHA) in the Midget Prep Division. RHA played against the top two Midget prep teams, Burnaby and Shawnigan, and emerged with two victories.
In two games Giannuzzi stopped 74 of 77 shots which included a 32-save shutout on second seed Shawinigan. On Thursday, against top ranked Burnaby, Dante saved 42 of the 45 shots he faced before RHA won the game in overtime. In both of his starts Giannuzzi looked poised and calm in the net.
He looked the most under control when his team was shorthanded. Against Shawnigan he faced eight power play opportunities, and lived up to the cliche that your goalie has to be your best penalty killer. On Friday, Dante answered the call. He stopped shots from every angle as well as the high scoring locations.
Another area of strength for Giannuzzi is down low and when the puck goes behind the goal line. On several occasions players attempted to bring the puck out from behind the net, Dante sealed the low area of the goal as well as having good stick positioning to prevent cross-crease passes. He kept tight to the post as shooters either attempted to bank it in off him or skated out quick for a shot.
On a few power plays Shawnigan placed a player directly in front of Giannuzzi to establish a screen. Dante fought through traffic to make stops as well as direct rebounds away from the dangerous areas. He was never caught leaning the wrong direction and showed great intensity all while maintaining confident body language.
No panic to his game, he stayed big in the net not showing much to the shooter. Giannuzzi is quick out of his crease to stop pucks as they are sent in the zone. More often than not, Dante was able to stop the puck behind the net for his defense.
Overall, in two games at the CSSHL Championships, Giannuzzi’s numbers: 0.961 save percentage, a 1.47 goals-against-average, and one shutout
Unfortunately for RHA, they lost the tie-breaker to Yale, which means their season is over.
Giannuzzi had a 0.919 save percentage and a 2.50 goals against average in four starts with the Rink Hockey Academy Midget prep’s.
Up next for Dante Giannuzzi is returning to the WHL and joining the Portland Winterhawks. Per head coach Mike Johnston, “Dante will return either on Sunday or Monday.” Earlier this season he appeared in four games for the Winterhawks.
Giannuzzi’s performance at the CSSHL Championships, against the top two teams, shows his potential and why the Winterhawks selected Dante in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.