An Oak Lake product, the son of Tod and Penny Wallace, recently committed to Minot State University. The Beavers won the 2019 American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I championship and were unable to defend their title due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wallace is considering studying business or physical education at the North Dakota university.
“He has been in contact for months and you could tell early on he was motivated to get his college hockey and studies going,” Minot State head coach Wade Regier said on the team’s website. “Riley knows he has to put in a lot of work to be successful at the college level, but I am confident in working with Wyatt (Waselenchuk, the team’s goaltending coach) he is going to be a big-time goalie for us in the future. His potential is endless.”
Wallace, who turned 20 in March, is pleased to be joining a great program. He is also happy to play close to home, so family and friends can come and watch. As the Beavers roster features several former Manitoba Junior Hockey League players, including ex-Oil Cap Landyn Cochrane of Russell, Wallace said he knows many of his future teammates already.
In 2015, Wallace was an auto-protect selection for the Oil Capitals. He was part of one of the best draft classes the team has had. Including Wallace and fellow auto-protect pick Tanner Andrew of Virden, nine of the team’s 10 selections have worn an Oil Caps uniform.
As a rookie, Wallace backed up Dalton Dosch and posted a 3.01 goals against average and .900 save percentage in 17 games. He received the team’s Fountain Tire Fan Choice award. Last season Wallace had a 4.53 GAA in 13 games before leaving Virden for a British Columbia Junior B league.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Columbia Valley Rockies are led by former National Hockey League goaltender Wade Dubielewicz. The coach of the Invermere-based team heard that Wallace was looking for a place to play through a contact and friend from Saskatchewan.
“I was really impressed with Riley’s competitiveness on and off the ice,” Dubielewicz said. “He was also a great teammate. The boys loved him.”
Wallace appeared in 11 games for the Rockies. He had a 3.23 goals against average and a .887 save percentage.
“I had lots of fun in Invermere even though my time was short there,” Wallace said. “It’s a smaller town so it was really easy to settle in as I’m used to being in small towns. … The support from the community and my billets was awesome, which made it real fun to play there.”
In January, he was named the KIJH’s Second Star of the Week. Wallace helped the Rockies to back-to-back wins of 2-1 and 4-1. Wallace made 58 saves, had a .966 save percentage, and recorded a 1.00 GAA.
“I think his strength is his ability to read the play,” Dubielewicz said. “He seemed to have a knack to always be one step ahead.”
Article written by Robin Wark