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Prospect Of The Week - David Rittich

The Czech netminder turned in two top-notch performances last week

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson /

In a home-and-away, back-to-back set of games last week, Stockton Heat goaltender David Rittich didn't flinch under pressure.

In fact, he thrived when presented with the challenge.

The Czech netminder turned aside 55 of the 56 shots he faced in games against the Ontario Reign and Bakersfield Condors and pitched a shutout in the second half of the back-to-back set.

Rittich is now 3-2-0 on the year with a 1.60 GAA and a .939 save percentage and has two shutouts in his last three games.

On Friday night, Stockton hosted Ontario for a divisional tilt that would see Rittich make 25 saves on 26 shots. He was particularly strong in the second period when the Reign put 12 shots on net in an effort to regain the lead and was key on Stockton's penalty kill, which went to work three times on Friday night. Rittich's play earned him second star honours in the 2-1 overtime win for the Heat.

The next night in Bakersfield, Rittich was named the first star of a 2-0 Heat win over the Condors after making 30 saves.

The Heat had a sluggish start to the game, being outshot 13-7 in the opening 20:00, but Rittich's play held his team in and boosted their confidence heading into the final two frames.

"In the first period [David Rittich] was the difference," head coach Ryan Huska told the media in his post-game address on Saturday. "[Bakersfield] had a lot of pressure on us and we expected that to happen, but our goaltender came to play tonight. That was the real big key for us tonight."

"[David Rittich] was great tonight, especially in the first period. [Bakersfield] had a lot of chances and he held us in it," Daniel Pribyl added. "After we scored the first goal he just improved and stayed hot all game."

Rittich ended up turning aside 17 more shots in the final 40:00, claiming his second shutout with the Heat.

"The win means more to me than the shutout," he said afterwards. "I feel good because my team played really well in front of me tonight. The guys made it simple for me and allowed me to see the puck all night."

The Calgary Flames signed the 24-year-old to a one-year, two-way contract on Jun. 13. Prior to joining the organization, Rittich played for Mlada Boleslav BK in the Czech Republic. In 2015-16, he put together a 26-22-0 record with a 2.53 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

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