FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars goaltender Richard Bachman had a season even he didn’t envision when he showed up at training camp last September. He started in the AHL, won the NHL backup job midseason, and next month he’ll represent the United States in international play for the first time when he suits up at the World Championship.
“It all happened very quick when you really look at everything, from the end of November to now, everything that has happened, but it’s been a fun ride and I’m just trying to enjoy every chance I can,” Bachman said.
It has been quite a ride for the 24-year-old Bachman, who came into Dallas Stars training camp expected to battle with Tyler Beskorowany for the No. 3 goaltender spot in the organization. But an injury to Stars No.1 goalie Kari Lehtonen and the struggles of backup Andrew Raycroft opened the door for Bachman, who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the AHL in late November and never looked back.
He won his first three starts and five of his first seven. He finished the season 8-5-1 with a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. He gave the Stars some stability in the backup position.
“I learned a lot this year,” Bachman said. “I came in and tried to learn the NHL game, the speed, the shots, the preparation and then I kind of switched my role into a backup role, which I was pretty unfamiliar with. Just preparing and being ready to go at the drop of a hat was also one of the really big things I took from this year. Learning how to do that, I think, is good. Other than that, I just enjoyed every second.”
There were some big wins along the way. He won his first start, stopping 26 of 27 shots in a 2-1 win over Los Angeles at Staples Center. In his second start, at Madison Square Garden, he shut out the New York Rangers, making 34 saves. He also posted wins in Chicago and Vancouver.
“I played in some pretty fun arenas and pretty fun environments,” Bachman said. “It’s what you want to play in; you want to play in those games. Actually, you want to play in all of them, but if you’ve got to pick some arenas, I got to play in some pretty cool ones. I look back and it’s almost a little shocking where I played in the last couple months. As I said before, it’s been a heck of a ride and a lot of fun.”
Bachman will now get to represent the United States in international competition for the first time when he plays at the World Championship, which gets underway May 4 in Finland and Sweden.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” Bachman said. “It gives me a chance to play more hockey and it will be a lot of fun. Getting to go over to Europe, I’ve never been over there, so I am looking forward to the experience.”
Bachman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but grew up in the Denver area and played at Colorado College. He’s spent a lot of time around USA Hockey, which is based in Colorado Springs, but he’s never had a chance to play for the U.S. on the international stage.
“You’re near the program or you see it and I’ve just never been able to be a part of it,” he said. “Now I get that opportunity, so I am really excited.”
2012 World Championship
When: May 4 – May 20
Where: Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden
Television: NBC Sports Network will carry all the Team USA preliminary round games, all four quarterfinal games, a semifinal game and the gold medal game