January 19, 2023
By Paige Burnell/SanDiegoGulls.com
It’s all about mindset.
For the Gulls goaltender Lucas DostalThat means taking everything – from each sport to his personal goals – one step at a time.
“Just go day by day,” Dostal said. “It’s kind of a cliché everyone says, but I think it’s really important for a goaltender — even off the ice — to just relax and just focus day by day and work hard.”
It’s no secret that Dostal’s approach has worked well for him this season, especially of late. The Brno, Czechia native was named a 2022-23 American Hockey League All-Star earlier this month.
“They picked the best goalie in the league,” Gulls head coach Ray Sommer Said “I really think he’s the best goaltender we’ve ever seen in this division, let alone the league. He’s kept us in a lot of games… you’ve got to give it to him – he’s a fighter.”
Dostal added the feat to his already long list of accomplishments this season. It was only last week when he became the first netminder in San Diego’s AHL history to record back-to-back shutouts with a 5-0 win at Milwaukee on Jan. 6 and a 3-0 win over Henderson on Jan. 1.
Outside of his two shutout wins, Dostal also held his opponents scoreless, posting a record-long shutout streak of 152:31 minutes over four games from December 9, 2022 – January 7, 2023, surpassing the previous record of 137:13 ( October 21–30, 2015, over three games) set by current Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson.
However, for Dostal, those four games remain separate events.
“If you have a good day (or) game, enjoy it that night,” he said. “Just enjoy it and have a good feeling. Take the good things out of it…then, just put it under the table and focus for the next day. That’s probably the best way you can handle it playing the game.”
One after another, Dostal continues to shatter records, not to mention the ones he recently set by himself. During the season, he tied, set and reset the franchise’s all-time record for most shutout wins.
Dostal earned his third career shutout – and first of the season – with a 7-0 win over Henderson on Nov. 8, 2022 (Also: 4-0 win at HSK and 3-0 win at BAK on Feb. 26, 2022). on March 11, 2022), tied with Reto Berra for the most in the franchise’s AHL history. He went on to pass Berra as the franchise’s all-time leader with his fourth shutout against Henderson, ringing in the new year with a 3–0 victory on January 1. Then, he broke his own record by backstopping the Gauls in 5. A 0-0 win in their next game on January 6 at Milwaukee.
The 22-year-old also made 40 saves in his most recent 5-0 win on Jan. 6, representing the second-most stops in a shutout in Gulls AHL history (46 saves, Reto Berra, 5-0 vs. SJ Jan. 5, 2018). Also, it was the second consecutive season Dostal recorded multiple shutouts (2021–22; 4–0 win at HSK on February 26, 2022 and 3–0 win at BAK on March 11, 2022).
“That’s the stuff you don’t see,” the Gols goaltending coach Jeff Glass Said about Dostal. “It’s not just a technical thing that he’s doing right or wrong. It’s managing all the minutes and controlling what aspects he has to put effort into and what he can control. This year, he’s really done an outstanding job moving forward. And taking care of himself so that he can present the best version of himself every day. For me, as a coach, all I can say is that when he comes to the game he is ready to play and he can present and perform at the top of his ability, and That’s what he did this year.”
Dostal doesn’t shy away from taking one thing at a time, but in terms of his overall performance this season — from being awarded Howie’s Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week for his performance in net from Nov. 6-13 to being named a 2022-23 AHL All-Star. – The steady improvement in his play is more than apparent.
The Anaheim Ducks certainly noticed.
Prior to his back-to-back shutouts in the first, Dostal appeared in seven games with the Ducks from December 12-23, posting a 2-3-0 record with a 3.53 GAA and .909 SV%. The netminder set an NHL career high with 46 saves against Edmonton on December 17 and became the first Ducks rookie to make at least 40 saves multiple times with a 42 save against Calgary on December 23.
“He’s got a big picture, big goal in mind right now,” Glass said. “It’s all pieces of the puzzle and I think he’s getting closer to his goal, but we all know there’s more and so he enjoys those things. I think he enjoys winning hockey games; enjoys playing well, but I think he realizes that’s all part of the process to get him to where he wants to be.”
In keeping with his modus operandi, Dostal split his time with the Ducks and set aside his aspirations to play permanently in the National Hockey League. That enabled him to start 2023 with the Gulls in a clean sweep, which quickly filled the shutout.
“I’ve been (with the Anaheim Ducks) for a while,” Dostal said. “So, I was just focusing for it and (I) just came back. I don’t really think goalies have their streak if they get behind. I’m going to stop the puck as much as I can.”
If the past is any indication of what Dostal will bring to San Diego this season, there’s no doubt he’ll help his team succeed as he reaches his own aspirations.
“I’ve been with this guy for three years now, and he’s been like this for three years,” Gulls centers Benoit-Olivier Graulx Talked about friends. “I expect nothing less from this guy. We’re probably taking it a little bit for granted – he’s probably the best goalkeeper in the league. We’re really lucky to have him. When he’s playing like that for us, it gives us a confidence boost and a big chance to win some games. “