GDI Goalie Tyler Brown is enjoying a strong season as the starting goaltender for the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats.
By Greg Harder
Tyler Brown has only been the Regina Pats’ starting goalie for a few weeks, but he already understands the importance of controlling his rebounds.
The 18-year-old netminder admits he “wasn’t a happy camper” Friday night after allowing five goals on 31 shots against the cellar-dwelling Kootenay Ice.
Although Regina salvaged a 7-5 win, the performance didn’t sit well with Brown, who responded two days later by taking out his frustrations on the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“I needed this game,” Brown said Sunday after stopping 48 of 49 shots in a 3-1 decision at the Brandt Centre. “I was pretty pissed off (Friday). I knew I’d have to be a lot more sharp (against Edmonton). I just stuck to my game as best I could. Everything went my way.”
That wasn’t the case against Kootenay, although Brown was far from the only culprit.
“The team wasn’t really sharp,” noted head coach/GM John Paddock, whose team hits the road Tuesday to face the Medicine Hat Tigers. “Brownie was really good (versus Edmonton). He was challenging (the shooters). He was aggressive. He was really sharp, there’s no question about it.”
As a result, the Pats extended their longest winning streak of the season to five games. Individually, Brown has won each of his past seven starts, compiling a 2.23 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage (including one relief appearance).
“He has been in the zone as of late,” noted veteran forward Cole Sanford. “He was huge (against Edmonton). It definitely gives us confidence when we know he’s going to bail us out.”
The Pats are enjoying their best run of the season with Brown carrying the load. That was the original plan coming off their West Coast road trip in late January, after which the team benefitted from a relatively light schedule.
“We’re confident in (backup) Jordan (Hollett) giving us good goaltending but this is what we hoped and envisioned would happen,” said Paddock. “Brownie has taken it and really run with it lately.”
Brown missed four games in mid-January due to a concussion but since then has appeared in 14 straight contests (12 starts and two relief appearances).
It’s a heavy workload for the first-year starter, but he has made the adjustment so far.
“I feel great,” said Brown, who has a 16-14-1-4 record this season with a 3.00 GAA, .912 save percentage and two shutouts. “I learned (how to handle it) earlier in the year when we were on the road and we played a lot of games. Now the coaches depend on me to be ready every game. It’s part of being a starting goaltender.”
Brown inherited the No. 1 job after Regina traded veteran Daniel Wapple to the Vancouver Giants on Nov. 5.
Paddock knows his new starter will need rest at some point but for now he’s riding the hot hand. With 14 games left, the Pats are trying to lock down a playoff spot as they prepare for another heavy portion of the schedule, including road games Tuesday in Medicine Hat and Wednesday in Lethbridge.
“I’ve thought about it lots in the last little bit,” Paddock said of his goalie rotation. “We’ll see what we’re going to do on the road. I’m not sure. A lot goes into it.”
Whatever Paddock decides, Brown insists he’ll be ready.
“We’ve won a lot of games recently,” added Regina’s starting goalie. “I feel good and everyone else feels good. We’ll be pretty solid heading into the playoffs.”
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Brown has been training with GDI for over 6 years through 1v1 lessons, GDI Summer Camps and the Total GDI Academy.
GDI FEATURED PROGRAM
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These are the anchor to the goaltender’s off-season development needs. These 4 or 5 day camps provide the biggest impact on goaltender performance in a short period of time. Our camps are very intense and goaltenders will conduct on-ice sessions, fitness testing, flexibility and hand eye training, classroom sessions, daily journals, off-ice dryland, comprehensive evaluation reports and much more.
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