By Dave Leaderhouse
NIPAWIN HAWKS, G
The Nipawin Hawks, for the last number of years, have been somewhat of a goaltending factory. First there was Davis Jones; then came Joe O’Brien and for the last two seasons there was Kristian Stead, who not only was named the SaskTel Top Goaltender, but was also the SGEU Most Valuable Player last year.
This season the Hawks have two of the top puck stoppers in the league with Declan Hobbs being named co-winner of the top goaltender award while rookie Jake Anthony has been instrumental in helping Nipawin secure its first regular-season championship in almost 20 years.
The recently-turned 19-year-old Anthony has appeared in 31 games during his maiden campaign in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and his 1.94 goals-against average is by far the best and he also leads the way in save percentage with a brilliant .929.
The results turned in by the 6-foot-1, 158-pound Grand Prairie, Alta., product was a dramatic improvement on those he posted in various leagues over the last three years in Alberta.
Last year, with the Sherwood Park Kings of the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League, Anthony appeared in 16 games and had a 2.52 GAA to go with a .914 save percentage. He improved his GAA slightly in three post-season contests to 2.36, but his save percentage fell dramatically to .888.
Prior to his year in Sherwood Park, Anthony split a pair of seasons with the Banff Academy and Banff Bears of the Heritage Junior Hockey League where his save percentage was consistently well below .900 and his GAA was up near the 5.00 mark.
One has to take into account that he was playing against players considerably older than himself and also that despite his age, he was getting into the lion’s share of the games for every team he played with. Plus, as he got older his play improved setting the stage for his outstanding rookie season in the SJHL where this time he often got the better of those players who were older than him.
The Hawks are looking for a deep playoff run and they will be looking towards Anthony, and Hobbs, to help them continue being the top defensive team in the league. With two more years of junior eligibility remaining, the table is certainly set for Anthony to give the Hawks the opportunity to boast one of the premiere goalies in the league.
Tag(s): Young Guns