Friday, 10 January 2014

Papirny Rolling for Wheat Kings

Jordan Papirny is 5-0 with a 1.77 GAA and .935 SPCT
in his last five starts
  Wheat Kings' goaltender Jordan Papirny has been on quite a roll as of late.

  The rookie is 5-0 with a 1.77 goals against average and .935 save percentage in his last five starts entering Brandon's weekend doubleheader against the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and Saturday (7:30 p.m. both nights, Westman Communications Group Place).

  Papirny seemed to turn a corner in early December while he was in the midst of starting 18 of 19 games while his goaltending partner Curtis Honey battled concussion symptoms.

  The Edmonton product seems a lot more calm, composed and relaxed in net than he did early in the season.

  "That's something that I've really started to focus on, even at the start of December, it tried to get more towards stick too tight," said Papirny after Brandon's practice on Thurday, "Before, I'd be really strict in my routine and almost be too tight.  Now I just relax, get loose and focus on tracking the puck.  There's one puck in the game and that's all I have to worry about."

  The 6-foot-0, 170 pound Papirny has learned the ropes in his rookie season in the WHL, and part of that learning process was dialing things back a notch.

  Early in the season, Papirny was so aggressive in challenging shooters that he would leave himself out of position for second shots and was susceptible to a goal mouth pass.

  Now, he plays a little bit further back in his net.

  "If you were to go back and look at the goals against Jordan in the early stages of the season, there were times he was so aggressive that the puck ended up being tapped into an empty net.  You rarely see that anymore," said Brnadon GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon after Papirny's 29 save performance Tuesday against Red Deer, "He's a lot more in control. It comes with experience.  He's a guy that understands his position real well and continues to improve."

  "The way I see it, or try and do anyways, is to try and play between my posts.  I'm not trying to slide out too far and get myself into the corners," added Papirny, "That's something I've tried to manage here lately.  It's been working in practice and I've been trying to take it into games too."

  Papirny currently ranks second among rookie WHL goaltenders with 15 wins, while his 3.36 GAA and .893 SPCT rank him second and third respectively in those two categories.

Chaff...Brandon centre John Quenneville practiced without restrictions on Thursday and should return to the Wheat Kings' lineup Friday.  Quenneville missed Tuesday's win over Red Deer with an upper body injury...former Wheat King Wade Redden retired Thursday after a 14-year NHL career.  The 36-year old Redden played a total of 1,023 regular-season games with Ottawa, the New York Rangers, St. Louis and Boston. He finished with 457 points and a plus-160 rating over his career.  He was also a two-time all-star and World Cup of Hockey gold of Thursday night, there had been 23 trades involving 41 players and 38 draft picks since the WHL's Christmas break, though the Wheat Kings were the only WHL team not to have made a deal.  The WHL trade deadline is 1:00 p.m. (CST) Friday.

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