Monday, 16 September 2013

Papirny Settling Into Wheat Kings' Goaltending Spot

Jordan Papirny
  One position that's been settled for a while for the Brandon Wheat Kings is in goal.

  Since Corbin Boes was traded to Lethbridge at the WHL Bantam Draft on May 2nd, it's been a given that third-year man Curtis Honey and rookie Jordan Papirny would be the Wheat Kings' goaltending duo this season.

  "Being narrowed down to me and Curtis here, it takes a bit of a load off your back but it also gives us a chance to settle in and get a routine down, which I think is really," said Papirny over the weekend, "Especially for practice habits as well, you're not switching off between three or four goalies so that's something I really valued."

  Papirny is coming off a 45 save effort in Saturday's pre-season victory in Regina, and finished the pre-season with a 3.53 goals against average and .907 save percentage.

  The Edmonton product was the playoff MVP in the Alberta Midget Hockey League last season, leading the SSAC Athletics to the league final while recording a 1.61 goals against average, .946 save percentage and four shutouts in 14 playoff games.

  He wasn't too shabby in the regular season either, finishing with a 2.59 GAA and .915 SPCT in 22 contests.

  Papirny was one of Brandon's first round picks in the 2011 Bantam Draft and could have played with the Wheat Kings last year but the 6-foot-0, 170 pound admits now that another season at the AAA Midget level served him well.

  "I wasn't ready  last year and I can sit there and point out specific things but, at the end of the day, I didn't have the confidence, and I knew that," said Papirny, "I think this year is completely different.  I know I can be a goalie in this league, I know I can be a top goalie in this league, I know I can be a top goalie on this team and I think that's the best mindset to have."

  Papirny is also looking forward to working more closely with Wheat Kings' goaltending coach Brent Zelenewich.

  While he talked with Zelenewich periodically last season, Papirny feels when there's an area he needs to work on, it's nice to have someone knowledgable around to help him along the way.

  Brandon is gearing up for the start of the WHL regular season.

  They'll visit Moose Jaw on Friday night before hosting the Warriors in their home opener on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place).

Chaff...Wheat Kings' defenceman Eric Roy was back skating at Calgary Flames' training camp on Sunday.  Roy had been sidelined for nearly a week with an abdominal wall strain...former Wheat Kings' captain Mark Stone saw 13:22 of ice-time for Ottawa in the Senators 3-1 pre-season win over the Jets in Winnipeg on Sunday night...other NHL pre-season action Sunday included former Wheat King Ryan Reaves scoring in St. Louis' 6-5 shootout win over Dallas and former Wheat King Rob Klinkhammer scoring a goal in Phoenix's 5-1 win over Los Angeles.

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