Two in the Walleye net

March 15, 2023

For the second successive season the Kam River Fighting Walleye has one of the best 1-2 goalie duos in the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.

In 2021-2022, the net tandem of Austin Madge and Eric Vanska backstopped Kam River to first place during the regular season and into the finals of the playoffs. With Madge having moved on to the American Collegiate Hockey Association ranks this season, it is Vanska and Jack Orchard forming the two man crease crew that has helped the Fighting Walleye to another first place finish.

Eric Vanska

The 20-year old Vanska has a record of 27-6-2 with a 2.70 goals against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts. Orchard, who is a year younger, has an 11-4-0 record with a 2.05 goals against average, .919 save percentage and four shutouts.

Both goalies have northwestern Ontario roots. Vanska is from Thunder Bay and Orchard hails from the small Rainy River District town of Emo.

Fighting Walleye general manager Kevin McCallum, who brought both goalies to Kam River, likes what he has in the dandy duo, beginning with Vanska as the starter.

“We couldn’t be happier with the progression that Eric has had over the last couple years,” McCallum relayed to Hockey News North. “The moment we started scouting him we knew he would give us a chance to win every night. The kid’s compete level is off the charts and his attention to detail and his craft doesn’t go unnoticed. He’s a special player and it’s been great to have him in our lineup.”

Jack Orchard

And Orchard has been a plum backup.

“When I started recruiting Jack in the off season last year I knew then he was what we wanted here. He is an asset both on and off the ice. He knew coming in that Vanska was here and that he would be a support guy for Eric and have his opportunity to get in the lineup as well. Well, Jack has been a great support for Eric and we expect big things from Jack next season as well.”

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