Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The first contest of his collegiate career was technically an exhibition, but it all seemed very real to University of Minnesota-Duluth freshman goaltender Alex Fons.
He saw his first game action with UMD on Jan. 26 when the Bulldogs played the United States Under-18 team at AMSOIL Arena, making six saves and allowing one goal in one period of work.
"I just wanted to enjoy it and have fun because of all the work that I put into it," Fons said. "It's just about believing in yourself."
For goaltenders, it's also about getting the team to believe in you. And for Fons, that has already happened.
"Everyone's behind him, no matter what," UMD senior Mike Seidel said. "He proved to us he has been working hard, so it was nice to get him a win under his belt."
"He's a hard worker," head coach Scott Sandelin said. "He's kind of a quiet guy but goes about his business. I think he's been a great team guy."
The team is, after all, what matters most. For the goaltenders, though, Fons says togetherness is especially important.
"At that same point, if you're working hard in practice, you're making the other guys better, too," Fons said. "It's not always about yourself, and you've got to look out for the other guys, too."
"Friendly competition is the best thing," UMD junior goaltender Aaron Crandall said. "We're all friends, but we're all competitors, too. That's what helps push all three of us."
That number is important. There are three goaltenders on the UMD roster. Generally only two dress for every game. Obviously, only one can start.
For Fons, though, that high level of competition only made UMD more attractive.
"Everything from the location of the school and the history of the hockey program to the history of the goalies that they've had," Fons said. "You've got the goalies here right now, Aaron [Crandall] and Matt [McNeely], and then you've got Kenny Reiter, [Alex] Stalock, and some of the other guys who have come through here."