Features | 4/15/2010 1:41:53 PM | Jackie Lewandowski
Mike Thompson is responding to the call.
After starting goaltender Ken Montour suffered a concussion on Feb. 6 against the Toronto Rock, Thompson has had to step in and step up.
Since then, the goaltender’s play has been a major player in the team’s success on the turf and he has found his rhythm.
“I wish I could sit there and say this is what changed,” Head Coach Darris Kilgour said. “I think Mikey was really snake-bit for awhile but when he realized we really needed him, something clicked and all of a sudden he’s on fire now.”
“I’m seeing the ball real well,” Thompson said of his game. “The guys know their lanes more and are picking off the passes and getting in the way of shots which makes it easier.”
Just behind Orlando Titan’s goaltender Matt Vinc, Mike Thompson is second in the league in overall save percentage boasting a .810 after making 191 saves on 236 shots.
Making more than just saves, Thompson is serving as an extra defenseman on the turf.
“I get to see the whole floor real well, and a big part of defense is communication,” Thompson said. “I’m out there trying to help them out there as much as I can and let them know what I see that maybe they aren’t.”
That kind of communication is key to a successful season, and with the team honing in on those skills, the playoff push continues.
“The team has totally come together and playing the system which is the reason we are so successful right now,” Thompson said. “The big part is to keep the momentum going and to keep rolling and show the league what we are capable of doing.”
Winning five of their last six games, the Bandits' momentum is strong. In fact, they can clinch a playoff berth this weekend with win in Orlando against the Titans and a loss from either Boston (vs Colorado) or Toronto(vs Rochester).
Thompson is a big reason that it's still possible. There is little doubt that his play in last weeks contest against the Toronto Rock is what kept the Bandits in the game and ultimately what won it.
The netminder faced 20 shots in the third quarter after the team had accumulated five penalties. He went on to make 48 saves on 58 shots for the night and earned two assists of his own.
“He did a great job, and he was rock solid,” Coach Kilgour said. “Even the power play goals you can’t blame on him.”
Now sitting in a three-way tie for third place, the Bandits (7-7) are in a must-win situation and can only control their own destiny going into these last two games.
“If we lose we are done, and that could easily happen in this league,” Thompson said. “You can’t take anyone for granted.”
“We are still in the 2-6 mindset and have been busting each others backs this past month to come together,” Thompson continued. We are in the playoff mindset.”
That quest continues Friday, April 16th as the Bandits travel to Orlando to take on the Titans in a 7:30 p.m. match-up and ends on Saturday, April 24th when the team ends the regular season at home to face the Boston Blazers at 7:30 p.m.
Despite the standings and the two games left in the regular season, for the Bandits and for Mike Thompson “Every game is a playoff game right now.”