From a free agent in the OHL to a 3rd round pick in the NHL, Soo Greyhounds sophomore netminder Matthew Villalta has proved to be one of the best goaltenders the franchise has seen to date.
In his two seasons with the Soo Greyhounds from 2016-2018, the 18 year old has proved that he is an elite goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League.
Villalta, who led the entire Canadian Hockey League with 40 wins during the 2017-2018 regular season, tied Brandon Halverson (2015) for first on the Soo Greyhounds all-time single season wins list among goaltenders.
The 2017 3rd round pick of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings, also had 14 wins during the 2018 postseason, passing Kevin Hodson (1993) for first on the Soo Greyhounds all-time playoff season wins list among goaltenders.
Hodson held the previous record with 11.
Villalta, who played 24 games in net during the 2018 postseason, moved into first among most games played by a Soo Greyhounds goaltender in a single playoff season, passing Kevin Hodson (1992), who held the previous record with 18.
In his first season with the Greyhounds in 2016-2017, Villalta set the team record for the lowest goals against average (2.41) among goaltenders, passing Kyle Gajewski (2008), who held the previous record (2.44).
The Godfrey, Ontario product also has some ties to the Soo Thunderbirds as his twin brother Wyatt played one season with them during 2016-2017.
Following that season, Wyatt, who played defence for the Soo Thunderbirds, shared the team’s rookie of the year award with forward Keegan Stevenson.
And how’s this for a coincidence?
The same year his twin brother Wyatt was named rookie of the year with the Soo Thunderbirds, Matthew was named rookie of the year with the Soo Greyhounds.
Villalta, who signed a three-year, entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings in late April, turns 19 years old next month, and is still eligible to return to the Greyhounds for at least one more season.