In last weekend’s monumental playoff victory at Toronto, Swarm goaltender Tyler Carlson wasn’t expected to start. However, the Brampton, Ontario native looked plenty prepared to go as he stonewalled the Rock with a career-high 54 saves and even created scoring opportunities for his teammates.
In the following Q&A, the second-year goalie discusses Minnesota’s big win, his relationship with fellow goalie Evan Kirk and how all of his teammates make him a better player.
Satzinger: You had 54 saves in last week’s playoff win over Toronto, a career-high. How does it feel to play well in such a big game?
Carlson: It feels great, because you never want to go home. The whole team came together and it feels good, but now we have to step forward and get another win.
Satzinger: You also dished out an assist in the game, how are you able to effectively create scoring chances for your teammates after stopping the opposition?
Carlson: It really comes down to the guys getting down the floor and me hitting them with the pass. When the opposition takes a shot and I block it, our players need to be boxing out so we can grab that rebound. Then, I look up the floor for my teammates. That’s always been a big part of my game growing up, just being able to hit guys streaking up the field, but it all starts with the block followed by boxing out and grabbing the rebound.
Satzinger: You weren’t supposed to start in the game at Toronto, but when Evan Kirk couldn’t play you stepped in. Take me through your thought process and preparation for that game.
Carlson: When coach Sullivan came up to me on Friday or Saturday saying “Kirky” wasn’t feeling very well, I just went through my entire routine as I normally do if I were playing. It’s really just about getting back to the basics realizing that I could be playing in the game at hand and getting ready.
Satzinger: The Swarm has the luxury of a roster with multiple elite goalies, what’s it like to share the starting sport with Kirk?
Carlson: It’s amazing, I love sharing the spot with “Kirky.” We both have each other’s back; when I’m in he’s my number one fan and when he’s in, I’m his number one fan. You don’t get that very often, two guys that are happy for each other even when they’re not playing, so I think the relationship we have is bar none because we’re both very happy for each other’s success as well as the team’s success. I feel very good about our relationship and I know Kirk does too.
Satzinger: Rochester is one of the lower scoring teams in the NLL, with 189 goals this season to Minnesota’s 239. What’s the focus going up against their offense?
Carlson: I think they have a really good transition game, with guys like Brad Self who I played with this summer. He’s got some wheels. I know the stats don’t necessarily represent that, but they’re good and we need to be ready to shut them down. We just really need our offense to keep firing, our defense to stay tight, and we’ll have another ‘W’ this week working towards our ultimate goal of a championship.
Satzinger: The Swarm’s 239 goals in the regular season and playoffs this year is the highest total in the league. While Crawford and Benesch have been playing well as usual, Jordan MacIntosh has improved his scoring and Shayne Jackson as well as Kiel Matisz set some rookie scoring records. How does playing with such great offensive weapons in practice help you become a better goaltender?
Carlson: It definitely helps. The quality of shots in practice is huge and helps me a lot, because the players I’m going up against in practice are just as talented as some of the top guys in the league. Playing with them definitely makes me better, because they’re so talented and dangerous around the net. They’re also great guys off the floor, great team guys. Playing with them definitely helps my game as well as Kirk’s and is great for the rest of the team.