BY TERRY JONES ,EDMONTON SUN
April 28, 2014
EDMONTON – Tristan Jarry has somehow managed to keep about as low a profile as a goaltender can keep in the playoffs with a 1.86 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
To this point, despite sensational statistics, Jarry has mostly watched other players get all the praise and publicity with the Edmonton Oil Kings third consecutive march to the WHL Final.
With the way Curtis Lazar and Griffin Reinhart have played dominant roles and the way Brett Pollock has stepped up and become a young star this playoff season, Jarry hasn’t been required to make many post game interview curtain calls.
And he’s been remarkable that way. He seems to go about his business without ego.
His nose is definitely not out of joint behind that mask.
“Heck no,” he said. “Those three guys you mentioned are all playing great. They’ve scored big goals and made timely plays for us. They’ve been outstanding.”
For two years the 19-year-old was the understudy to Laurent Brossoit, somehow managing to get in a combined 41 games in goal and getting selected in the second round — 44th overall — by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I was very surprised I went that high. I was probably the only back-up to get drafted. I was very proud of myself,” said Jarry.
There was no other goalie envy with Brossoit, either.
“It was great for me to be behind one of the great goalies in the WHL. I saw how how hard he works. I think it really benefitted me. There were a couple stretches where I got frustrated but the coaches did a great job with me.”
But now it’s the WHL Final.
Now it’s the Portland Winterhawks.
Now there isn’t much doubt.
It’s Tristan Jarry Time.
The Winterhawks feature the top three players on the WHL points parade.
• Oliver Bjorkstrand — 15 goals. 28 points.
• Brendan Leipsic — 12 goals. 27 points.
• Derrick Pouliot — 4 goals. 26 points.
And there are two other guys sitting in 8th and 9th in WHL playoff points before you get to an Oil King.
• Nicolas Petan — 7 goals. 21 points.
• Taylor Leier — 6 goals. 21 points.
That’s a lot of production for five players in 14 playoff games.
You know that Bjorkstrand is going to be introduced to the dominating shutdown defensive work of Griffin Reinhart just like Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders, Jayce Hawryluk of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Trevor Cox of the Medicine Hat Tigers before him. But this time there are a lot of other guys to handle, too.
“Obviously Portland has a lot of offensive players and they’re probably going to get a lot of pucks to the net. But our defence has done a great job for me, taking away rebounds and getting pucks out. They’ve given me a lot of help and I expect they’re going to continue to do that.”
So far Jarry has answered every challenge.
“I had a little bit of a bump at the beginning of the regular season. But I’ve been pretty good ever since then. I think it was all the hype that comes with being with being the No. 1 goalie — all that pressure you put on yourself.”
You don’t really know how a first-year starting goaltender is going to do when he hits the playoffs for the first time. Jarry made a seamless transition from the regular season.
“You have to go through that experience to find out. He’s done a pretty good job of answering the bell,” said coach Derek Laxdal.
“We’re very fortunate to have that calibre of goaltending in our organization. L.B. moves out. Tristan moves in.”
For Winterhawks coach Mike Johnson, it may be a similar deal but compressed into the last two weeks.
Brendan Burke started the first 11 games of the playoffs. But in Game 2 against Kelowna Burke gave up three in the first period and another to start the second. Corbin Boes came in, won, and stayed the rest of the series.
Jarry has superior numbers to Burke, son of former NHL goalie Sean Burke, who left the nets with 2.52 goals against average and a .907 save percentage to the series.
Boes, however, has a 1.84 goals against average and a .941 save percentage since he took over.
“I don’t really know what’s going on there,” said Jarry.
No need to know. Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing.
Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones