by Dominic Tiano (@DominicTiano)
The 6’1 and 170 pound goaltender is a native of Windsor Ontario and is in his first Ontario Hockey League season. He was drafted in the third round, 49th overall in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.
Mancina played his minor midget hockey with Sun County Panthers during the 2011/12 season. He finished the season with an 11-9 record, 2.45 goals against average and .897 save percentage. He got into one game for the Leamington Flyers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League posting a shutout.
Following his OHL draft selection, he went on to play for the Leamington Flyers of the GOJHL and finished the season with 2.77 goals against average and .904 save percentage. He was chosen to play for Team Ontario at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 where he posted 2.46 goals against average and a .895 save percentage in four games.
Playing Junior B isn’t a reflection on his abilities but rather was beneficial toMancina. He wasn’t going to get much playing time in Guelph with veteran Garret Sparks (Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick) and in Leamington he would get plenty of starts. As a 16 year old in Junior B he shared the Roy Caley Award for lowest team goals-against average and the Roy Brulman Memorial Award as the conference’s top rookie and made the rookie all-star team.
Mancina is the 2nd goaltender (Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers the other) to graduate from Bandits Goalie School led by Stan Matwijiw, who has helped the likes of Chris Osgood and Jack Campbell. At the time of writing this profile Mancina was coming off a week being named as CHL goaltender of the week.
Mancina wasn’t always a goaltender however. He played as a forward in AA as a ten year old although he played goal the year before. The goaltender got hurt and Mancina got the call to protect the net. He made the Panthers the following season and a goaltending career was born.
At 6’1 Mancina has good size but will need to fill out his frame. He is a hybrid goalie, a cross between a butterfly and stand up style. Mancina can read plays developing and has very good anticipation. He’s also a very good skater with an unbelievably strong work ethic.
I spoke to Bandits Goalie School’s Stan Matwijiw about Mancina.
OHLW: Some of the goaltenders that have been through your goaltending school have said that if you're willing to be worked hard, you're going to become a better goaltender because of Bandits Goaltending School. Matt's work ethic is top notch. How does he compare today from his first day at camp in terms of the work he puts in?
SM: Matt's work ethic has come a long way in the four years that he has been working with me. I believe that this happens for more then one reason, the first reason would be that as players get older they start to see how they reap the benefits of all the hard work they're putting in. The second reason is the environment that you put the player in, at my school we try and put the younger goalies with players that are playing at higher levels and or guys that have been around our camps the longest. By doing this it allows them to watch and learn the work ethic of his peers.
OHLW: Matt isn't the first goaltender to start off playing a different position other then tending net. I believe he played as a forward in AA. Is it fair to say that it helps with his skating?
SM: I do think it helps goaltenders with all of their hockey skills (skating, puck handling and understanding the game) being a player first. At a young age/ beginner I feel it is extremely important to master the above skills and in turn they do translate into playing the position of goaltender.
OHLW: Is it fair to describe Matt's style as a Hybrid style ?
SM: Matt is for sure a Hybrid goalie, I (nor my staff) believe that goaltending fits into a neat little box. We all come in different "shapes and sizes" and all have different strengths and weaknesses. With that being said I try and let them be their own individual because what works for one goalie may not work for another.
OHLW: In 17 games, Matt is first among first time draft eligible goaltenders in goals against average and tied for 2nd with another graduate of yours AlexNedeljkovic in save percentage. He gives his team a chance to win. Can you give us your thoughts on his strongest points of his game?
SM: Matt is "smooth as silk" the way he plays, if you watch him you'll notice that it almost looks like he's not trying! His fundamentals are incredible!
OHLW: Alex is widely considered as a possible first round draft pick and the top goalie available from the OHL for the NHL draft, but Matt is opening some eyes. Can you give us a glimpse of his development curve to date and how you see it going forward and what things he needs to work on?
SM: Matt is a very good student of the game, he's very smart and he understands the game. I'm excited to see what Matt will do in the coming years because he has all the tools to become a pro. If I had to say the one thing that he needs to work on it would be his puckhandling skills, which will come with more playing time and feeling more comfortable within his own game.
OHLW: the OHL hasn't had as many goaltenders drafted into the OHL lately as in other years but there are those that end up signing as free agents and the fact that the NHL draft is only 7 rounds deep plays into it. Is it something you discuss with your goaltenders?
SM: No I never discuss things like that with my students, the best thing any player can do is to NOT worry about things like the NHL draft or scouts in the stands and so forth. We have a saying/ message that we like to past along to all of our students and that is "Worry about what you can control and everything else will take care of itself."
OHLW: How does the OHL's import draft rules on goalies affect both American and Canadian goaltenders now, and do you feel it will helpgoaltenders like Matt in the future?
SM: Well this question is conversation in itself Dom! It's hard for anyone to say if the new rule will help North American born goalies get drafted into the NHL. I do how ever believe that there are more then a sufficient number on North American goalies that are good enough to play at this level and that we really don't need to bring in European goalies.