Photos by Panthers Images, used with kind permission, follow Panthers Images on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Games Played – 4 / SVS% – .909 / GAA – 2.06
Games Played – 2 / SVS% – .855 / GAA – 5.53
Games Played – 1 / SVS% – 100 / GAA – 0
What little we saw of Gospel showed his promise and talent. Given the three netminder situation he was always going to miss out so it was good to see him loaned out to get match practice ready for when he was called on.
Due to my links with the Nottingham Lions I got to see a bit more of Sam Gospel than most. He is a very capable netminder who I believe has the talent and self determination to become a starter in the EIHL.
Personally I felt he was underused at Panthers this season and opportunities where he could have had ice time weren’t taken, however that was perhaps always going to be the case with two import net minders ahead of him.
If I was marking Sam as a young British back up then a 6 is very harsh, and he’d be looking at an 8, but as an EIHL netminder he’s got a little way to go. Another very stellar season for him, proving that he is capable of coming into games and starting the few that he did, but he is still a young talent with potential to become a great British netminder. It’s fantastic that we have him, he’s one of the top end back ups in the league, but his potential is huge and I’m not sure if staying on the bench, or in the stands, week in week out is good for him. Glad to have him, but if he left for a starting netminder role elsewhere I’d be more than happy to see him progress, and hopefully he can come back and be a Number 1 in time.
It was always going to be tough for Sam to get much EIHL ice time this season after Panthers announced they would be going the 2 import route, but thankfully we were able to strike a deal with a couple NIHL clubs to keep Gospel fresh.
When called upon Sam didn’t let us down and he has all the potential to be an elite nettie. Selfishly I hope we retain his services for a long time, but that may mean him being #2 for a few seasons.
Limited opportunities throughout the year with Garnett and Galbraith vying for the starting place. That said, his handful of appearances were notable for their maturity and not looking out of place at the top level. Will benefit from more games, and has to ask himself if being part of a trio of goalies again would benefit his career progression if the club decide to repeat this.
When the story broke that Eduard Zakharchenko wasn’t going to be joining the Panthers I was actually quite pleased, I had nothing against the guy but I’d seen us fail miserably to manage three netminders in the previous season which led to Dan Green being hung out to dry in the PlayOff quarter final and I absolutely didn’t want that for Sam Gospel. If the EPIHL hadn’t folded I doubt we’d have Gospel on the roster and I hated the thought that he could be lost in the system and regret coming to play for the Panthers. I think we’ve had more opportunities to play him and to a certain extent he has been lost, yes we’ve pimped him out to Hull and the Nottingham Lions but I don’t think we’ve had chance to see the best of Sam Gospel, if we go with three netminders again then I fear more of the same but if not then perhaps this could be Sam’s season, from the few games that he’s had in a Panthers jersey he’s looked a very capable netminder and I hope he has the opportunity to do more and get better.