Vancouver Warriors bring in Fryer to heat up competition for goalie minutes next NLL season

The Vancouver Warriors also added veteran defender Garrett McIntosh on opening day of free agency.

The Vancouver Warriors added a goaltender who should compete for their starter’s gig and a veteran defender on the opening day of National Lacrosse League free agency on Saturday.

Netminder Steve Fryer, 30, and defender Garrett McIntosh, 31, highlighted the four newcomers inked by Vancouver. The Warriors also re-signed three players.

Vancouver was 4-9 and in last place in the five-team West Division when the NLL shut down its season due to the novel coronavirus. The Warrior franchise has made the playoffs just once in the past seven seasons.

Fryer should duel with incumbent Eric Penney, 27, for time in the Vancouver crease. Vancouver finished the season with rookie Nolan Clayton, 25, backing up Penney.

Fryer has been in the NLL for six seasons with four teams, including spending this past year with the expansion Rochester Knighthawks. 

He’s largely been a back-up. He has a 2-6 record, with a 10.00 goals against and a .796 save percentage, for his career. One of those wins was a 14-4 decision over the Warriors for the host Colorado Mammoth on March 23, 2019, a night when Fryer made 49 saves and was named the game’s third star.

Fryer backed up two years with the Mammoth, including in 2018 when Vancouver bench boss Chris Gill was on the Mammoth’s coaching staff.

Originally from Brampton, Ont., Fryer has played in B.C. in summers in the past, including in 2019 when he was the starting goalie for the Langley Thunder of the Western Lacrosse Association.

Meanwhile, McIntosh has spent seven seasons in the NLL. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Coquitlam native was with the Calgary Roughnecks for five seasons before moving to the San Diego Seals in the 2019 expansion draft. He has 19 goals, 42 points, and 176 penalty minutes in 96 career regular season games.

Team captain Matt Beers and Brett Mydske, a free-agent signing this past season who had to sit out the campaign due to work commitments, will be Vancouver’s top defenders whenever play resumes. McIntosh is among those next in line.

The Warriors remain unsure on the status of defender Nik Bilic, a key trade pick-up last off-season from the Saskatchewan Rush who blew out his knee in his first game with Vancouver.

The NLL hasn’t announced dates for the 2020-21 season. 

Vancouver also signed free-agent defender Joey Lucchesi, 24, and forward Christian Mazzone, 25, a pair of Americans with extensive field lacrosse backgrounds.

As well, Vancouver re-signed forward Joel McCready and defenders Owen Barker and Colton Porter. 

An 11-year NLL veteran, McCready, 32, had 11 goals and 20 points in nine games with Vancouver this past season. Barker, 26, and Porter, 29, were both additions when the Warriors moved to Rogers Arena two seasons ago from Langley, where they played under the Vancouver Stealth banner.

Porter didn’t play last season due to injury.

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