CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley is going back to Reto Berra.
And it’s the right crease call.
A day after the Calgary Flames goaltender allowed three goals in a six-minute span -- including one from below the goal line -- that pulled the Edmonton Oilers from a 2-0 deficit into their first win in six games, Hartley gave Berra vote of confidence by announcing him as the starter for Monday’s tilt against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Obviously we all saw the third goal and I sat with him,” Hartley said. “It’s a mental challenge for him also. I felt that he played very well, gave us a chance. He was not overly busy but in the second period he made two, three pads saves at the other end and I felt that he was sharp.”
The stats may say otherwise. Berra allowed three goals on 23 shots as the Flames fell for a fifth consecutive game. The 6-foot-4 goaltender has been tagged with four of those losses.
But working Berra through his struggles as he adapts to both North American ice and the National Hockey League is essential for his development.
“Even though he’s 26 years old, there’s still a lack of experience at this level,” Hartley said. “He’s learning too, but he’s working and giving us a chance to play and I like everything I see out of him.”
The numbers may not reflect it, but he’s right.
In his six starts, Berra has recorded a save percentage of .900 or better just twice -- his debut against the Chicago Blackhawks (.955) on November 3rd and Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks (.914). In both contests, Berra singlehandedly stole points for Calgary.
Throwing him up against the Jets shows that Hartley thinks Berra can do it again.
And might just give Berra the confidence he can, too.