A return home could be just what the doctor ordered for the Regina Pats.
The Pats finished their six game road-trip with a 2-3-1 record. Not exactly the outcome the group was looking for, but it could have been a whole lot worse.
“I think it was ok,” said head coach John Paddock.
“We probably played good enough to discount to the Brandon game. The trip being P.A. and onward, I thought we played okay. Which means 500 is probably what we deserved to get.”
A big reason for the Pats picking up five points over that six game stretch was the play of new number one goalie Tyler Brown.
Most nights, Brown was either the best, or one of the best, Pats on the ice as the 17-year-old routinely saved roughly 95 per cent of the shots fired his way. Brown’s recent play has bumped his season save percentage to .913.
“Now that I’m getting all of this ice-time, I feel like I can just do this every time. The coaches have confidence in me and it just makes me more comfortable in nets,” said Brown.
Perhaps more importantly for Brown is he’s proven he can rebound from a poor performance.
Brown did struggle against the Oil Kings and didn’t finish the game last Wednesday. Rather than letting it get to him, Brown bounced back in Red Deer.
“Every goalie is going to have a game like that. The next game is going to be important for you to not get into a slump. You don’t want to get into that next game and get pulled again or else you’re going to lose all of that confidence,” said Brown.
Brown was given the job as the team’s number one net minder on Nov 5 when then top goalie Daniel Wapple was dealt to the Vancouver Giants. A big reason for the deal was the play of Brown as he’s steadily progressed since joining the team last season.
Right now, Brown’s play and the improving game of 16-year-old Jordan Hollet is leaving little doubt in the mind of Paddock that he made the right move for the team when he Wapple went to Vancouver.
“I think our goaltending, one-two, are as good as anybody in the league. I don’t think there’s anybody better in both those spots. We’re very happy with it,” he said.
It’s not just the coaches that have confidence in their goalie from Winnipeg. The men that play in front of him every night know that when they make a mistake and give the other team a chance, Brown will be there to bail them out.
“He can just make those huge saves that you’re kind of just like ‘wow, how did he stop that!’ It’s really great, (Brown) is playing unreal,” said defenseman Connor Hobbs.
Brown admits that being a bonafied number one goalie in the WHL hasn’t really sunk in just yet.
“Probably in a couple of weeks reality is really going to hit me. I’m really on that high of ‘oh my god, I’m still the starter’. I’m loving every minute of it,” said Brown.
The Pats remain on the road this week starting with a game in Saskatoon on Wednesday. They play again at the Brandt Centre on Dec 9 against the Calgary Hitmen.