Talor Joseph is hoping last week's win with the Toronto Marlies won't be the last you see of him in the pros.
The former Terriers goaltender picked up a win as an emergency backup for the American Hockey League club last week when both of their goalies were out with injuries. Joseph says he didn't know he was starting until hours before they hit the ice.
"I got a text from the Marlies saying they needed me as a backup for the next two games. When I got to the rink, the trainers brought up that their other goalie went down, but I didn't think anything of it," Joseph explains. "I went to the locker room, got my warm-up stuff on, and the coaches called me into their office. I thought it was an introduction, but little did I know, they were telling me I was starting that night. It was kind of funny, I thought they might've been joking at first."
The 27-year-old led the Marlies to a 5-3 victory over the Abbotsford Canucks in his first appearance at the AHL level, stating he didn't have any time to overthink it, after finding out on such short notice. Joseph says this was one of the things that helped him stay composed on his way to making 34 saves.
The goaltender felt like he belonged, despite the hectic scenario and new surroundings.
"I felt comfortable. Everybody knows their assignments and knows their roles, so it's a little less sloppy than the university level," says Joseph. "It makes your job easier as a goaltender. You can just worry about doing your job and make saves when you need to. It's, obviously, a lot faster, and guys make big plays, but you don't really have time to think, you just have to play."
Joseph adds that he did have an extra edge against this specific team.
"I was fortunate because I got called up to Abbotsford in January when the (Vancouver) Canucks were having COVID issues," Joseph notes. "So, I had some familiarity with the team, skating with them for a week and backing up a game for them. So, I knew some of the guys."
The Sherwood Park, Alberta product is no longer with the Marlies roster but managed to help out with one more win before his departure.
"(The Marlies) had signed a guy to a PTO (Professional Try-out Contract), which was the plan before I had gotten there. So, he was supposed to start the following game, but I was told to be ready just in case. We got to the rink and didn't see him, so I automatically got ready and prepared like I was playing," Joseph explains. "Right before warm-up, I got the nod that I was going to start and that he would be coming in after the first period. I just did my job, and it worked out."
Joseph stopped eight out of the ten shots he faced in his period of action as the Marlies ultimately won 5-4 in overtime.
The former Terrier says his time with Portage was a huge key in becoming the player he is today. He spent 2013-15 as a Terrier, playing in 52 total games with a record of 34-13-5. In the 2014-15 season, the goalie went 17-1-2 with a 1.62 goals-against-average, however, it didn't end the way he had hoped.
"Everything was going well for me that year. I think I was ranked number one in the CJHL for statistics, and then I, unfortunately, tore my meniscus right after Christmas in practice. That sidelined me for the rest of the year," says Joseph. "It was a tough bounce, but looking back at it now, it can be confusing why all that stuff happens, but I know everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't change anything though. Going through the stuff I went through formed me into who I am today. My time in Portage was phenomenal, the community was awesome, and it was like a family there for me. I'll never forget my time in Portage."
Despite being on the sidelines, Joseph was still a part of the 2015 Centennial Cup Championship winning Terriers team. The goalie gives credit to coaches Blake Spiller, Paul Harland, and Jim Tkachyk for guiding him along the way.
With his university career coming to an end earlier this year, Joseph is now looking for a full-time spot in pro hockey. He hopes his showing in Toronto can be the stepping stone that helps him continue his hockey journey.