Keegan Asmundson misses his Canisius College teammates. But the 70-degree weather in South Carolina is making the transition to pro life a little less painful.
The senior goaltender signed with the South Carolina Stingrays last week, making his pro debut in a loss against the Indy Fuel (Doug Jessey's team) then picking up his first win in a shutout against the Evansville IceMen (Cody Freeman and Chris Rumble's team).
"I was at the Sabres-Arizona game last Thursday when I got the call from my agent," Asmundson said. "I was flying out the next morning, met the team at morning skate on Saturday and played my first pro game that night."
Asmundson backstopped the Griffs to their third-straight Atlantic Hockey semifinal setting four program records – career marks in goals against average (2.08) and save percentage (.930) and single-season records set this season in goals against average (1.96) and save percentage (.930).
He made 20 saves his debut, a 3-2 loss to Indy which, incidentally, ended the Stingrays record-setting 23-game win streak. But Asmundson got the nod in net the next night, recording 21 saves and holding Evansville off on four power play attempts to earn his first pro win with his first pro shutout.
"At the end of the day, it's still a hockey game," Asmundson said. "There are differences between pro and college, especially at the goalie position, but at the end of the day it's still the team who scores the most goals wins. After my first couple of saves I settled in. I felt bad for killing the longest winning streak, but feel good for the opportunity the next night.
"There's a learning curve but time at Canisius prepared me well. It's a little like back in juniors when I was traded and I was the new guy and had to learn new faces and new names but everyone here has been great. I can't say enough about well they're treating me here. I'm trying to limit myself to asking only two or three questions a day so I don't annoy them too much."
Asmundson joined a team that's the hottest in the ECHL. With 91 points the Stingrays are second in their division with a playoff spot secured. Asmundson is enjoying the experience moment by moment and taking every opportunity to learn.
"You have to enjoy the moment," he said. "The guys in Buffalo said it snowed and I'm poolside in 70 degrees. You have to enjoy the little things. But also, it's a professional job. I want hockey to be my career and I want to do a good job here to earn an opportunity for the following season. I realize it's still a game at heart, but now it's a business and I'm learning more that side of it."