Brandon Weare photo/Revelstoke Grizzlies Facebook Page/Matt Timmins Photography
As the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League nears the Christmas Break, the last game before Christmas is on Dec. 19, this week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses on how each team’s goalie tandems have performed.
Eddie Mountain Division
The Columbia Valley Rockies have 15 wins and Head Coach Briar McNaney loves that their goaltending has the ability to make saves in big moments. The Rockies outshoot the opposition every period – they have allowed 707 shots on the season.
“They need to make big time saves on breakaways, penalty kills, things like that, which is typically tough for goaltenders to do when you have a team that outshoots the other team and doesn’t allow a whole lot of shots,” says McNaney.
Trystan Self has 11 of the Kimberley Dynamiters’ 14 wins. Matt Fleet has two, while Rylan Labrie has the other. Self has four shutouts, and the Dynamiters’ goalies have combined for a 2.03 goals against average and .928 save percentage.
“Trystan and Matt have been very good for us this season. They’re a big reason why our goals against is third best in the league,” says Dynamiters Head Coach and General Manager Derek Stuart. “Trystan is a very quick, agile goalie and his positioning is elite. Matt is very good as well, but I think the biggest difference is Trystan is playing like a veteran even though he started the season with just two more games played in the league than Matt.”
Stuart added that Self practiced with the team all last season and worked extremely hard and believes he got a lot better despite COVID-19 shutting games down in November. With Fleet, Stuart really likes his attitude.
“He knows he’s the backup, but he still pushes Trystan in practices and games,” says Stuart. “Matt accepts his role as the backup, but I also think Trystan knows that the coaches are very confident with Matt in net too, so he needs to bring his best every day.”
The Fernie Ghostriders have 13 wins with eight belonging to McCoy Bidewell, who was signed by the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. Dylan Lacroix, who joined the team from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, has five wins. He is sharing the crease with Jesse Schindel. Head Coach and General Manager Ty Valin says his goaltending has been really good. Since Bidewell’s departure, the Ghostriders new tandem has combined for a 2.36 GAA and .933 SP.
“Both guys are really competitive and they want to win every night,” says Valin.
Joining the Ghostriders from the SJHL, there was a transition for Lacroix with a different style of game.
“The biggest thing I’ve liked about him, obviously other than his ability to stop the puck, is the way he competes and battles every day. He kept competing everyday to get better,” says Valin, adding that his work is paying off.
Being younger, Schindel is putting in the work and is learning from Lacroix.
“Dylan has been a great mentor for him, just like McCoy was,” he says, “it’s a very good tandem of goaltenders that we’ve had.”
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have 12 wins with six by veteran goalie Carlos Siso and five from Harmon Laser-Hume, who is now with the Nipawin Hawks of the SJHL. Brendan Lloyd has the other win. Head Coach and General Manager Bill Rotheisler says losing a goalie like Laser-Hume is almost impossible to fully replace, and they were fortunate to trade for Siso at the start of the year and made the trade because of their confidence in Laser-Hume’s ability to move on to Junior A. They brought in Lloyd, who he says has been fantastic. Rotheisler says the dynamics in the crease has changed where Siso is their guy.
“He’s really stepped up to the plate,” says Rotheisler of Siso, who has a 2.78 GAA and .918 SP.
Rotheisler says that Lloyd understands his role is to support Siso.
“He works hard everyday and we’re always open to him taking a bigger slice of the pie,” he says. “He’s got to earn it. He has certainly done it off the ice and in practice and he really gets better everyday here.”
The Golden Rockets have eight wins with Michael O’Sullivan (five) and Levi Hall (three). The tandem has combined for a .921 SP and a 3.18 GAA. Head Coach and General Manager Chuck Wight says their goaltending has been solid throughout the first half of the season.
“We have received consistent play from our goalies and some timely saves that have kept us in many games,” says Wight. “Having internal competition has been good for all of our goalies. The level of performance is high in practice and that makes the compete level go up for all our goalies and players.”
Neil Murdoch Division
Dylan Marshall (11) and Tenzin Mint (five) have teamed up for the Nelson Leafs’ 16 wins. The tandem has combined for three shutouts, a 2.39 GAA and .901 save percentage. Leafs Assistant Coach Adam DiBella says the coaching staff really like the competitiveness between the goalies this year, but more importantly, they support each other.
“They are each other’s biggest fans,” says DiBella. “We like both of our goalies’ preparation for each game. They are focused, prepared and because of that we are seeing their best every night.”
Marshall is a very patient goalie, who doesn’t waste any movement in the crease, everything is controlled and with purpose, as he lets the game come to him. DiBella adds their goalies are the hardest workers in practice and push the shooters to score on them.
“We are lucky to have Connor Potter as our goalie coach,” he says. “Connor comes in and works with the goalies and helps them technically and mentally prepare for each individual game.”
The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ tandem of Owen Albers (seven) and Kevin Engman (six) have teamed up nicely for the 13 wins. Engman has the lone shutout, and they have combined for a 3.61 GAA and .900 SP. Nitehawks Head Coach and General Manager Terry Jones says their three goalies, including Kyle Kooznetsoff, have been the backbone of their team.
“Kevin provides excellent leadership being one of our key veterans on the club, Owen brings immense competitive spirit and will to win, and Kyle brings incredible work ethic and positive attitude to our team,” he says. “Together, they are pushing each other to be the best they can be.”
With 10 wins on the season, six of the Castlegar Rebels’ victories belong to hometown product Ethan Lawczynski, while Matteo Hueston has four. The pair have a shutout (Lawczysnki) with a 3.42 goals against average and .906 save percentage. Rebels Head Coach and General Manager Arnie Caplan says they’re a great tandem that “seem to have a lot of respect for each other and they’re both exceptional goalies.”
“Ethan has really stepped up and been tremendous for us. He has earned all of his ice time without any doubt,” says Caplan. “He brings size, athleticism, experience, and a high compete level.”
Caplan added they work together well, along with Ryder Graham.
“The trio create a very competitive, but really good atmosphere for our team,” says Caplan. “It can only increase the performance level of our goalies. I believe that all of our players feed off of this friendly inner competition among our goalies.”
Ethan Shebansky has the lone win for the Grand Forks Border Bruins. Shebansky and Justin Dueck. The pair have combined for a .902 SP and a 4.57 GAA. Head Coach and General Manager Dave Hnatiuk says both goalies have played really well, despite the struggle to win games.
“They have been going back and forth pretty much all year long,” says Hnatiuk. “I think their ability to keep competing, even when the going gets tough, they have been sticking with it and working hard.”
Hnatiuk says Shebansky competes hard on every puck and does what he needs to make a save, while Dueck is more technical and calculated.
Bill Ohlhausen Division
The Osoyoos Coyotes have won 17 games this season thanks to goalies Kenneth Marquart (eight), Kenny Gerow (six) and Tanner Johnson (three). The trio have combined for a 2.73 GAA and .898 SP. Coyotes Head Coach Carter Rigby says the goaltending is great.
“My go-to-guys with Kenny Marquart and Kenny Gerow, I’m very happy with both. It’s been nice to bring in the older Kenny here and make sure that we’re set back there, but I think he has the lowest GAA in the league and he’s right up there in the SP too (fourth). He has been phenomenal for us coming in and at the same time, very happy with Marquart too.”
Marquart and Gerow combine for a 2.33 GAA and .911 SP.
“Now the biggest thing is making sure your group in front of them is confident with whoever we have in the net, I know we are ready to go,” says Rigby.
The Summerland Steam have 14 wins with 12 of them split between Ben Lewis and Colton Macaulay. Ethan Reynaud has two. Lewis and Macaulay have combined for an .888 SP and 4.00 GAA.
Of the Kelowna Chiefs’ 13 wins, Frederick Larochelle has nine, while Reed McLennan has four. The pair have combined for two shutouts and a 3.19 goals against average and .901 save percentage. Chiefs Head Coach Travers Rebman says the pair have been very steady this season.
“There is the odd single soft goal here and there in a game, but they haven’t had any games where I can say our goaltending was an issue for us, so it’s great for us to be able to
give them games and know we will get solid starts,” he says.
Both are calm in net and give their team confidence and are very consistent so the Chiefs always have that chance to win.
“They are both quietly fierce competitors,” he says.
Rebman described Larochelle as much more involved in playing pucks and a little busier in the net. His puck handling makes the game easier for the defence. McLennan tends to stay put in the net more, but is very quiet and efficient and provides a calming influence on the team.
“It’s good for us having both guys with different styles as the rinks vary so much throughout the league,” says Rebman.
The North Okanagan Knights have six wins on the season. Jake Dubinsky and Gabriel Murrells-Allaway each have three wins. They have combined for a .908 SP and a 3.28 GAA. Head Coach and General Manager Liam McOnie says both have been very good.
“They are the two hardest working and most competitive players on our team,” says McOnie. “Dubinsky is a goaltender who can rely on his athletic ability to make great desperation saves and Murrells-Allaway plays a simple, structured game with lots of patience. Both have improved a lot in different areas.”
McOnie credits goaltending coach Josh Evans for his work in developing their skills.
“Gabriel really helped solidify our tandem and has done a great job of pushing Dubinsky for minutes and giving our team a chance to win when he is in net.”
With six wins on the season, the Princeton Posse have had issues with their goaltending primarily because of injuries. Cort Castonguay leads the team with three wins, while Ryan Dusseault has two and Peyton Trzaska has one. The Posse are on their fifth goalie and are using affiliate player Jasper Tait of the Okanagan Hockey Academy, who is finishing out 2021 for the team. Tait made 29 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss against Chase on Tuesday. Tait is a driven goalie, who will have a chance to showcase himself at the junior level.
Posse Head Coach Mark Readman says that Castonguay is a quality goaltender, who keeps them in games.
“He has been consistent with his effort, and that’s all you can really ask for,” says Readman.
The Posse expect to have Trzaska back after Christmas.
Doug Birks Division
The Revelstoke Grizzlies have 17 wins, thanks to the tandem of Brandon Weare (12 wins) and Jozef Kuchalso (five wins). They have combined for a 1.72 GAA and a .932 SP. Grizzlies Assistant Coach Jiri Novak says they have been very happy with both goalies as they are good athletes and what’s very important to them is they are good teammates.
“We really like the chemistry between them because they push each other to be better during the practice as their compete level is very high and they don’t want to lose any games or be worse than the other,” says Novak. “During the game they support each other. Brandon has some experience in the league so he knows how to handle the pressure and that’s a reason why he is usually very calm in the net. He’s still trying to find a way to be better, which is an awesome message from a 20-year-old goalie, not just for our young players, but also for Joe.”
With 16 wins on the season, Colton Phillips-Watts has 12 of the Kamloops Storm victories. His backup Cody Creasy has earned four wins in five games. They have combined for five shutouts, a 1.90 GAA and a .929 SP. Storm Head Coach Geoff Grimwood says Phillps-Watts has been really solid.
“He is a very competitive goalie and our team feeds off of that. He’s a really outstanding teammate with a great attitude on and off the ice,” says Grimwood. “Cody Creasy has unfortunately had some injuries, otherwise his games played would be higher, but he has been really steady in his games and we expect his workload to go up after Christmas.”
The Storm have a third goalie in Birch Mireau, who hasn’t seen game action, but is a big part of their leadership.
“He has a big impact on our team with his dedication and work ethic,” says Grimwood. “A great team guy.”
The tandem of Jack Osmond (six wins) and Roderic May (four wins) have earned the Chase Heat 10 wins. The pair have combined for a .909 SP and a 3.40 GAA. Osmond was in goal for a 2-1 overtime win over Princeton and turned aside 33 of 34 shots. Head Coach Brad Fox says his goalies have been outstanding on so many levels.
“They can win games for us, or give us a chance to win games,” says Fox. “They compete hard, they practice hard and they prepare well.”
Fox credits goalie coach Colin McGill, who has done an outstanding job of aligning that relationship with these guys to constantly work to get better.
“What I’ve told our guys, if we’re giving up 40 to 45 shots a night, that’s not on our goaltenders,” he says, “that’s on us to play better away from the puck so we can drop that by 10 to 15 shots. If they are holding us in, and they are still getting overwhelmed, and we are getting outshot 2-1, 3-1, in these games, that isn’t on them. Their job is to just keep us in them and play well enough to give us a chance to win now. They are doing that.”
The 100 Mile House Wranglers have eight wins on the season. The tandem of Casey Thomson and Loic Mainguy-Crepault, each have four wins, while the latter has the lone shutout. They have combined for a .919 save percentage. Head Coach and General Manager Dale Hladun says ask anybody in their division how valuable both goalies are to them.
“We’ve been outshot by a large margin and those kids both give us a chance to win all the time,” says Hladun. “They don’t make just the key save, they make a ton of key saves. I’m in awe of both of them. What’s kind of unique and exciting is that Casey and Loic are really tight buddies. They are very supportive of each other and almost each other’s goalie coach. When you have that kind of combination it just shows the respect they have of each other.”
Hladun feels he has two starters and he says, “these guys are both Lions, they want to play” when asked about their GAA and SP.
In a tough 9-0 loss to Chase, Hladun says that Mainguy-Crepault refused to come out of the net.
Hladun had a conversation with him.
“‘Hey man, it ain’t your fault. I’ll give you a break. We got to worry about stats if you want,” says Hladun. “‘He goes, ‘No, I am going to battle through’
“I respect him for that,” Hladun continued. “That’s kind of what I told these kids – GAA to these kids, and he wouldn’t leave you guys. He stayed in the war. That’s what I need you guys to understand. You have got to fight for him. Oddly enough, that 9-0 ass-kicking might have bonded our team even more.”
The Sicamous Eagles have five wins, four of them with Gage Reimer in goal and Jordan Lott has the other victory. The pair have a .901 SP and a 3.51 GAA.