On Friday afternoon, Newfoundland Growlers goaltender Keith Petruzzelli was called up to the AHL. With Erik Kallgren injured, the organization saw fit to give the opportunity for the 22-year old netminder to make the jump in competition and show what he’s got.
Petruzzelli has had a fantastic start to his professional career. In five games with the Growlers, he posted a 4-1 record and a .952 save percentage that ranks him second among ECHL goaltenders with at least 5 games played. He was also named the ECHL goalie of the week for the first week of the season (October 24th) and October’s Goalie of the Month.
Standing 6’5 and 185 pounds, “Petz” is an absolute wall between the pipes, he sees the ice exceptionally well and has exhibited both sound positioning and dynamite athleticism needed to go far as a pro. He doesn’t just rely on his size to stop pucks, and has made some absolute 10-bell saves needed to keep the Growlers in some of the tighter contests they’ve played with him in the net. The foundation is all there of a player with NHL potential, it’s up to him to seize the most of his current opportunity.
we're havin' fun here in CBS.
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) November 7, 2021
Originally a 3rd round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2017, Petruzzelli signed an AHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, and had to be aware that he was likely going to start in the ECHL in Newfoundland, even though he says he previously had “absolutely no idea where it was or what it was going to be like” (from a profile written by Growlers staff). More to the point, he was potentially coming here as a backup to Ian Scott. When Scott was unfortunately injured during Leafs preseason action, Petruzzelli was penciled in as Newfoundland’s starter, he grabbed the reins and didn’t let go, which in turn led to this call-up.
At morning skate on November 12th, Growlers head coach Eric Wellwood had this to say about Petruzzelli’s career so far:
“I think if he stays on the path he’s on now, he’ll find himself in the show. His numbers are godly and I don’t expect that to change. Even though he’s playing extremely well, he’s not he’s playing so out of this world that it’s not sustainable at this level. So that’s a very good thing. I think for him, consistency is key, he’s gonna have to prove that he can play a lot of games in a short amount of time at the pro level”
Keith Petruzzelli will miss his teammates in Newfoundland, but is excited to be with the #Marlies.
“It doesn’t get too much better than this.”
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) November 19, 2021
Petruzzelli will make his AHL debut this weekend against either Cleveland or Lehigh Valley.