It should come as no surprise that this is happening, there is of course a rivalry between the teams to some extent, after all there is a strong pride for hockey in Canada. But this feels a bit different as each of these goalies have brought it to another level than normal, of course all of them play for a VHL Canadian team, in fact all of them have played for different Canadian teams in the VHLM as well, all 3 of them are Canadian and lastly they all have J names, who would have thought that? We'll go season by season and see where each player was at, and point out some of the notable games. First though a quick over view of each player.
6'5" | 187 lbs | age: 30 | Canadian
VHL Drafted: 18th overall S69 | VHLM Drafted: 5th overall S69
S69: Skylar Rift Trophy
6'3" | 190 lbs | age: 19 | Canadian
VHL Drafted: 4th overall S70 | VHLM Drafted: 3rd overall S69
S69: Skylar Rift Trophy | Benoit Devereux Trophy | Founders cup
6'7" | 192 lbs | age: 20 | Canadian
VHL Drafted: 9th overall S70 | VHLM Drafted: 32nd overall S70
S70: Skylar Rift Trophy | Benoit Devereux Trophy | Founders cup
The oldest and most experienced out of the 3, Jimmy Spyro played his first game way back in season 68 for the Ottawa Lynx, neither Haxtall or Lafontaine played in season 68 but we thought we'd take a look anyway, the team failed to make the playoffs and Spyro would play 32 games and only won 4 of them, with a save percentage of .879 and a goals against average of 4.7. yikes, that's a rough start but of course it's not all on Spyro, he faced 1244 shots in those 32 games with 151 getting passed him, I'd say that .879 save % is very respectable for a first season VHLM player on a pretty bad team.
Season 69 (The Wild season)
That offseason Spyro would stay in the VHLM and be drafted by the Mississauga Hounds, this is the season where things start to get interesting as Lafontaine joined the Saskatoon Wild during the off season and Hextall would make his first appearance playing for the Halifax 21st just a little over half way through the season. On the road against against the Wild the Hounds would loose 3 of the 4 games, the last game Spyro manged to out play Lafontaine and saved 27 out of 30 shots for one of the only 4 looses the Wild suffered during the regular season. It is worth noting the previous game went to a shoot out with the Wild winning 2 to 1. At home Spyro manged a win of 6 to 4, it's clear the Hounds we're the biggest challenge for the Wild that season. What about Hextall? Keep in mind he joined later in the season but besides Hextall being able to drag his team to a shoot out loose, he never won against Spyro. And this goes for against the Wild to, in the 4 games Hextall was in net for the 21st he never won against the Wild. The real rivalry started in the playoffs though as Spyro and Lafontaine would meet in the finals, but before we got there Lafontaine would have to deal with Hextall in the 2nd round. The very first game of the series a nail biter going to double over time and both goalies facing 40 plus shots but the Wild got the win, the Wild would go on to make the series 3-0 and just had to finish of the 21st but perhaps taking them lightly, they would only put 22 shots on net, with Hextall saving 20 of them and out playing Lafontaine who faced 6 more shots, this was the only game where the 21st out shoot the Wild as Hextall faced 40 plus shots every other game. Moving onto the finals Spyro would steal the first game making 27 saves out of 29 shots but the Wild would win the next 4 and put down the Wild in what I can only imagine frustrated Spyro to no end. Hextall and Spyro both hold a pretty special honor of beating a team that seemed unstoppable in the playoffs, of course Spyro did it twice in the regular season but in the playoffs where players take it that next level, the 2 should be very proud of themselves, especially Hextall as Halifax didn't even mange to beat the Wild once during the regular season, both of these goalies handed the Wild and Lafontaine the only 2 losses they would face in the playoffs. As one final note this season saw 3 players win the MVP award in the playoffs, Edwin The Encarnacion and Jacques Lafontaine of the Wild, and Jimmy Spyro of the Hounds.
Last season saw the clear start of a rivalry between Lafontaine and Hextall in the Semifinals, and Lafontaine and Spyro in the finals however things would get really quiet between the 3. Spyro and Lafontaine would move on up to the VHL as backups for thei respective teams the Vancouver Wolves and Calgary Wranglers. But for Hextall things were a bit different, while scouts said he was ready for the VHL he would have been joining a Legion team that was just starting a rebuild and would have been stuck as a backup anyway, so the choice was clear for Hextall to stay in the VHLM for another season where he would play for the Storm and him himself some awards. Spyro would play in 14 games and net himself 9 wins, Lafontaine played 8 games and got himself 6 wins but none of those games saw eachother face eachother.
S71 would start back up one of these rivalries, that being Hextall and Lafontaine as Hextall had now moved up to the VHL as the Legions starting goaltender and Lafontaine took over the starting job in Calgary. The Legion we're still in a rebuild so we all knew the games would be tough, Hextall did mange one win against Lafontaine but otherwise Lafontaine ran away with it. In Spyro's 11 games he sadly would not have a run in aginst Lafontaine but there was a 1 off match of him and Hextall, Spyro walked away with the win. Vancouver and Calgary would meet in the playoffs but Spyro would never see the net in that series.
Despite entering the league first and being drafted a season eariler Spyro wouldn't get the job as starter until season 72, and now with all 3 goaltender being starters there will a lot more match ups. Of course this season is still ongoing so we'll see some more matchups after this as well. We finally get to see Spyro and Lafontaine go at it again after 2 seasons of no match ups, the Wolves have gone into a bit of a retool this season which has made it a bit harder for them to compete, and as such Lafontaine as dominiated the match up winning 4 of the 5 games they've seen each other in net. Hextall and Spyro are currently tied at 2 wins a piece as backups for each team has stopped them from meeting more during this season, there's still 2 more times these team will meet each other so we'll see who wins those last matches. Finally we get to Hextall and Lafontaine and if your tired of Laftaine winning these match ups well your still outta luck here, as he has won 4 outta 6 match ups. Part of that may be that he plays on a good team but one cannot denny his skill.
To give a quick overview here's a record of their match ups, playoffs in bracets.
Spyro vs Lafontaine Spyro vs Hextall Hextall vs Lafontaine
S69: 5-2 Laf (4-1 Laf) 5-0 Spy 4-0 Laf (4-1 Laf)
S70: No match ups for anyone
S71: No match ups 1-0 Spy 3-1 Laf
S72: 4-1 Laf 2-2 tie 4-2 Laf
Totals: 13-4 Laf 8-2 Spy 15-4 Laf
Basically if your a fan of Hextall your use to him loosing these matche ups but this season might finally change that if he wins at least 1 game against Spyro and doesn't face him again. Lafontaine has dominated these series match ups since the start and part of that is definitely because he's played on some great teams since the start of his career really, he played on the best VHLM team ever and he went to a Calgary team that was and still is great. Despite Spyro and Lafontaine not meeting for 2 whole seasons we still feel there is a strong rivalry there, Hextall and Lafontaine have both been vocal about their rivalry, both S70 draftees, both meet in the playoffs and have faced each other the most out of any of the match ups. Really we're waiting for something to really spark a stronger rivalry between Spyro and Hextall, they need a good playoffs series against each other or some really close games.
@DarkSpyro @SlapshotDragon I hope you guys enjoy this to some extent, probably not as fun of a read as I thought it might be but still it shows how far we've come and I had fun looking through each season, hopefully I didn't miss anything. As one last thing, I've opend a poll for people to vote on who has the best J name for fun XD
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