Tri-City Americans

Mast helps Ams goalies achieve through techniques

KENNEWICK -- There is no way Tri-City Americans goalies Ty Rimmer and Eric Comrie can escape their mistakes. Goaltending coach Lyle Mast has their every move on video.

Then again, the goalies can refer to the videos as learning tools between Mast's visits to the Toyota Center.

"The videos are a huge help," Comrie said. "You see the breakdowns in your game. When coaches tell you things, you can't see what they are talking about, but when you can see, it reinforces what you need to do. We get (memory) sticks of our sessions so we can go back and learn. We talk about it all the time. We communicate really well, and Ty has really helped me adjust to the league. It's great for him to share what he knows."

Mast, 47, a former goaltender who spent time with the Billings Bighorns in the 1980s, has coached goalies at all levels for many years. His most recent stints were with the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Oil Kings, but he resigned from both positions to take the job with the Americans.

"It actually ended up being good timing," said Mast, based out of Salmon Arm, British Columbia. "The league is small, and you learn what the teams and staff are like. It was a good opportunity to come to Tri-City. They draft good goalies, and they have a good environment to work in."

Mast, who intends to come to Kennewick twice a month, worked with Comrie on Thursday morning and Rimmer in the afternoon -- a refresher course, if you will, for games tonight at Portland and Saturday at Spokane.

"Generally, head coaches aren't up-to-date with goaltending," Americans general manager Bob Tory said. "With Olie (Kolzig, an Americans co-owner) taking a job with Washington (Capitals), I thought it was necessary to bring someone else in. Lyle has been in the business a long time, and it has paid dividends. He has helped both of them a lot since training camp."

Mast's biggest training tool is the video. Thursday, he and the goalies worked on rebounds, positioning and biomechanics.

"It's a motion analysis system. They originally cut their teeth in baseball," Mast said. "For me, it was a need in coaching. Most goals are scored on rebounds, broken plays and lateral passes. One of the disciplines in biomechanics is how you track the puck. It's a specific discipline, and it's helpful to be able to see it."

Right there on the ice.

"We need to talk and communicate, and the time I have to talk to Eric and Ty is between sets," said Mast, who has a computer set up on the ice. "We can watch the video and discuss it before they get cold. It's better to work one-on-one."

Kolzig, the Capitals' goalie coach, will try to make a few trips to Kennewick during the season to work with Comrie and Rimmer. Mast welcomes the input.

"Olie is an incredible guy," Mast said. "He is a consummate professional. It's incredible for them to be able to work with him and talk to him. They will be able to receive that information and incorporate it. The opportunity to learn from Olie is there for me, too."

* Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574; afowler@tricityherald.com

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