Wild prospect Jesper Wallstedt on his celebrity status after goalie goal: ‘It’s been very hectic’
His goalie goal even made an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild minor-league goaltender Jesper Wallstedt made a save in net Saturday night and then his eyes got big.
With the Iowa Wild up 4-2 on the Chicago Wolves in an American Hockey League game, Wallstedt dropped the puck onto the ice, then used his stick to fling it toward the other end of the rink.
“The goalie was pulled and we had the lead and we were also on the penalty kill,” said Wallstedt, who the Wild selected in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. “It was the perfect situation. I didn’t really feel any pressure on me because if I missed the net, it would’ve been a good clear, then we could go for a change. It felt like the right time to try something like that, and it ended up tracking toward the net and going in.”
At that moment, the 20-year-old Wallstedt went viral. It wasn’t long before his goalie goal started to spread on social media. It even made an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.
“It’s been very hectic,” said Wallstedt, who estimates he has done about 10 interviews in the aftermath. “It has really blown up. It’s been very fun, though, and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s not something that I get to do very often.”
It’s actually not the first time Wallstedt has scored a goalie goal. He also did it as a 14-year-old in Sweden.
“It wasn’t caught on camera so some say that it never really happened,” Wallstedt joked. “It was fun to get this on camera.”
Asked about his thought process leading up to the goalie goal, Wallstedt made it clear that he wasn’t thinking about it until the moment presented itself.
“My first priority is always saving the puck,” he said. “I’m trying to help us win the game. It’s never something that comes to mind, like, ‘OK, I’m going to risk this to go score a goal.’ I was just thinking about making the next save and the opportunity came and everything happened pretty fast in the moment, like, ‘Oh yeah, I have a chance. I’m going to go for it.’ It ended up being a goal. That was fun.”
It also ended up being Wallstedt’s first win as a member of the Iowa Wild. He’s still learning the ropes of hockey in North America, and currently has a 1-0-3 record to go along with a 3.12 goals-against average and 0.899 save percentage.
“It’s a different league than back home,” Wallstedt said. “I feel like every day that goes by more pieces of the puzzle are getting put down in the right place. We’re tracking in the right direction, and I’m just going to keep being patient and working hard and hopefully make something good out of it in the long run. We’re not trying to build anything short term here. Just keep building and building with a good structure that can hold up for a lot of years.”
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