With a perfect 3-0 record on the line in tonight's final contest at the 2019 Rookie Showcase, the Sens will hand the crease duties over to their youngest goaltenders Kevin Mandolese and Mads Sogaard who will split the rematch against the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m.
Mandolese appeared in half of a game at last year's rookie tournament in Laval before returning to Cape Breton for a solid third season with the Screaming Eagles. In preparation for tonight's start, he has the comfort of being in this position before.
"I had the chance to split a game at this tournament last year and it was a little intense since every player here is trying the hardest to make a good impression," said Mandolese. "It's been a little easier this year since I've been through this before and I can lean on my experience to help get me ready to play my best in front of the coaches and staff in attendance."
Drafted in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft, everything continues to be new at this level for Sogaard. A big goalie by big goalie standards, he credits the comradery between his fellow young Ottawa netminders as a big benefit as he prepares to don a Senators jersey for the first time tonight.
"Kevin was there last year so he knows what to expect and has been a big help for me this weekend," Sogaard said. "I'm just excited to get the chance to show my game tonight and ultimately help pick up a victory hopefully."
Video: Mic'd Up | Mads Sogaard
The Senators have already received outstanding performances in goal this weekend from Filip Gustavsson and Joey Daccord but Sens goalie coach Pierre Groulx believes tonight could be the young goalies' opportunity to both shine before they break back to their respective junior leagues.
"For Sogaard and Mandolese, they know they're going back to junior," Groulx said. "So tonight is their opportunity to make a good impression on the new coaching staff before they leave."
With four goaltenders on the roster this weekend for the Sens prospects, the net could become a bit crowded in the near future. On the flip side, the healthy internal competition between the young goalies already appears to be paying dividends.
"We definitely try to push each other to get better," shared Mandolese. "Off the ice we're always hanging around each other but once we get on the ice it gets a little more competitive which has really helped to bring the best out of everyone."
The Sens wrap up the Rookie Showcase tonight against the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m. and you can catch all the action live on the Belleville Senators Facebook Page, TSN.ca, the TSN App and on TSN Direct with no blackout restrictions.