It has been an interesting year for Philippe Bond to say the least.
The 19-year-old from Repentigny, Que., started the season as the opening-night goaltender for the Yorkton Terriers and after stopping 31 of 35 shots he had his first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League victory.
Bond then allowed 13 goals in his next three appearances and when the Terriers brought back Ryan Ouellette from the United States Hockey League the 6-foot-0, 175-pound Bond was relegated to back-up duties.
Bond did get into his share of games and played a big role in helping the Terriers build a comfortable lead in the Viterra Division standings, but it was clear that Ouellette was the new No. 1.
That was until just after Christmas when Ouellette suddenly decided to head back south of the border leaving Bond as the go-to-guy once again. Bond, and the rest of the team, struggled somewhat right after Ouellette’s departure, but in his last two starts he has surrendered just three goals in picking up an overtime win and a shootout loss.
With 24 appearances so far this season Bond is accustomed to a heavy work load as last year with the Alma Jeannois back in Quebec he had a 2.74 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 27 games. The two years before that in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League he saw action in a combined 39 games for the College Esther-Blondin Phenix where he had a goals-against average of under 3.00 and a save percentage slightly higher than .900.
His 3.80 GAA this year is a bit high, but the Terriers as a team have struggled in their own end allowing the second-most goals against despite having one of the top-three winning percentages. Bond’s save percentage has been spectacular at .907 so his play provides plenty of confidence for those in front of him.
The Terriers have the lightest schedule heading down the stretch as they have played as many as eight more games than other teams in the league so Bond, and the rest of the Terriers, will have plenty of rest as they prepare for what they hope to be a deep run in the post-season.