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Walsh Learning From the Best, A Calm Presence for Warriors

In his second season with Vancouver, Aden Walsh is a steady force for his team and is feeling even more prepared to take on the best in the league. 

Walsh got his first win with the Warriors this season this past weekend against the reigning NLL champ Buffalo Bandits. 

“It feels great. It was just a matter of time with this group. We’ve had some really close games and it was only a matter of time until we came out on top,” Walsh said. 

Against the Bandits, Walsh stopped 39 of the 51 shots he faced, and Warriors’ General Manager and Head Coach Curt Malawsky said the saves Walsh made helped keep the team in a position to win.

“He made the timely saves. His breakaways – he stopped them. They did go three-goal runs a couple times, but we ended up answering them and he just kept us in the game. One of my mantras is stay in the fight, we just gotta keep swinging and stay in the fight and Walshy just gave us the chance,” Malawsky said. 

“He battles, he competes, he’s feisty, he cares in the net and he’s a big part of our back end. We don’t need massive, massive, huge saves, we just need consistency, and he was consistent from start to finish.” 

One of Walsh’s saves that resulted in a Ryan Martel goal, was the play of the game. He tracked Bandits’ forward Chris Cloutier around the crease and battling in the trenches with Matt Beers, Walsh was able to make the save.  

In a gritty win against the Bandits, the Warriors met Buffalo’s pressure with equal strength. Practices have been intense from the jump at training camp and the coaching staff continues to push the limits of intensity.  

“Curt and his staff have been great top to bottom, they’ve brought a new intensity to this group, and I think we’re really hearing him and getting his message and it’s rubbing off on the team. Looking at the game last week, things are starting to turn for us. It’s been a season of tough bounces for us, we could be in a different spot right now with some of the calls we’ve gotten, but it hasn’t changed our team morale, we still approach every game the same way,” Walsh said. 

Walsh tries to steady the group on the defensive end and has learned a lot from the veteran defensive group, soaking up as much as he can from guys with NLL Cups and years of experience on their resumes. There’s a lot of communication on the floor between Walsh and the defence and he says they’ve been “playing great” in front of him and letting him see the shots he wants to see 

“I just try to be as calm as I can, no matter the situation, whether it’s a breakaway or five-on-five or we’re short, I try to approach it the same way. As a goalie you just try to be as patient as you can and wait for that first move and then react from there,” Walsh said. 

Going up against his teammates in practice like Warriors’ leading scorer, Adam Charalambides, gets him ready for big moments in games. Charalambides and Walsh keep a tally of the saves Walsh makes and goals Charalambides scores for bragging rights. Walsh tops the leaderboard of practice competitions so far this season. 

“We keep it super competitive,” he shared. 

Last season Walsh got into 16 games and was 1-6 with a .704 save percentage. This season, he’s played in all 11 games, including a win over the Buffalo Bandits. His record so far is 1-3, playing an entire 60 against the Toronto Rock the Buffalo and putting up a .760 save percentage. 

The Oakville, Ontario native is currently in his second year studying business at Niagra College. He frontloaded most of his classes at the beginning of the week so he can prepare for games the latter half of the week. College life can sometimes mean cramming for exams and pulling all-nighters for papers and assignments, but a pro lacrosse schedule means he tries to stay ahead of the game. 

“Really just trying to battle the school stuff out early in the week and solely focus on lacrosse later in the week because the last thing I want to be doing is finishing up an assignment the game day or the day before the game, so I just really try to get that stuff out early.” 

The 23-year-old says a key difference for him this season over last is that he’s got his process down and that gives him more confidence going into games. 

“Just getting familiar with the routine, establishing my own routine was huge. Last year I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do on game days, what time I wanted to get to the arena, what time I wanted to get dressed. This year I feel like I’ve got all of that pretty much down pat, so now I just get to the arena, do what I’ve got to do and focus and dial in on the game,” Walsh said. “I feel a lot more prepared going into this year, whether that’s me film for the week or my workouts or nailing my game day routine.” 

Experience has helped him figure out what works for game days, and so has his goaltending teammate Aaron Bold. Walsh has played with Bold for a full season now, as Bold came in before the halfway point last season and Walsh looks to him for tips with game prep and as an example of professionalism. 

“We’ve had many calls just the two of us where he’s walked me through his routine, how he approaches the game, the homework he does leading up to the game and really just leading by example, showing how he conducts himself helps tremendously. Boldy’s not only a great teammate but a great friend too, he helps you out off the floor too, he’s a great guy,” Walsh said. 

Settling into a groove as a pro athlete takes time as it’s not a one size fits all. 

Walsh is hoping the team will capitalize on the momentum they’ve generated and is willing to do whatever it takes to help the group be successful. 

Vancouver Warriors