With the Melfort Mustangs engaged in a heated battle with three other teams to try and secure a top-four seed for the playoffs, it is almost a certainty that they will be leaning on 21-year-old Shawn Parkinson down the stretch to keep the puck out of their net.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound goaltender from Victoria, B.C., has been a workhorse for the Mustangs this year seeing action in 36 of 50 games including every game this month where he has one win and three overtime losses in five appearances.
Parkinson is among the league leaders in minutes played and his goals-against average of 2.69 and .912 save percentage is also in the upper echelon. Parkinson’s role with the team has been increased substantially from last year as his minutes played is 50 per cent higher and there are still eight games remaining on the regular schedule.
During last spring’s run to the league final, Parkinson only saw action in five of the 16 Mustangs games, but that responsibility will undoubtedly be solely his this time around.
Obtained from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drayton Valley Thunder early last season, Parkinson came to the Mustangs with four years of junior hockey experience – two at the Junior “A” level with the Thunder and the British Columbia Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies along with two seasons in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League with the Peninsula Panthers and Westshore Wolves.
Prior to joining the Mustangs his numbers were respectable everywhere he played, but since his arrival in Melfort he has improved on every aspect immensely. That continued improvement will be vital for the Mustangs to first qualify for the post-season and then once again try and make a deep run towards a league championship.