For a guy who spends a lot of his time denying oncoming attacks on the ice, Fresno Monsters goaltender Tomas Sholl couldn't be any nicer off of it.
"I have a lot of opportunity here," the humble Sholl said. "The coaches believe in me. I've just really been focused on giving my team a chance to win every game. In my mind if I can give my team a chance - that's all I can do."
Only 18 years old, the Hermosa Beach native is about as close to a brick wall, as a goalie can be. This season, Sholl has a 2.5 goals against average, and has saved over 91 percent of the shots fired at him.
"To watch Tomas grow over the last year and a half has been really exciting for me and exciting for Tomas to say the least," said Monsters Head Coach and General Manager Eric Ballard. "It's nice to know you can take the ice on a nightly basis and know you're going to have a great opportunity to win."
And it's not only NAHL players feeling Sholl's wrath. A YouTube video shows Sholl absolutely stoning Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and Scott Parse of the LA Kings, on a 2-on-0 drill this past summer.
"Crosby was training in the summer and he had a lot of his friends who were also pro players come out and skate," Sholl explained. "They needed a goalie so they asked my dad if I could step in net. It was just an unbelievable experience. I managed to hold my own a little bit and get better."
"It couldn't happen to a better young man," said Ballard. "And we were excited for Tomas because those are the type of memories - it doesn't matter what he does the rest of his life - he'll always remember those times."
Sholl has plenty to look forward to in the future as well, committing to play college hockey at Bowling Green, a previous NCAA champion that has produced several Olympians.
"I talked to a lot of schools and my family has some connections to alumni at Bowling Green," Sholl said. "They told the coaching staff to keep an eye out for me, and they did. Things just really worked out. It was great."
And Ballard thinks Bowling Green could be a springboard to bigger and better things for the netminder.
"The National Hockey League is what I see for Tomas," Ballard said. "Now I could be completely wrong but he has all the ingredients both on and off the ice to put himself in that situation. I really do believe he's going to hit the pinnacle of the sport."