Friday, 10 March 2017

Change In Programming

I had an article ready to roll for tonight, but some news from the local AHL scene will interrupt that plan. The goaltender in the photo to the left is Manitoba Bisons goalie Byron Spriggs, and it appears he's mid-form in delivering a pro-style poke-check. I say "pro-style" because the Winnipeg-born netminder was needed in Thursday's AHL game for his first introduction to the professional side of the game, and the former Vincent Massey Collegiate Trojan and Winnipeg Blue donned the road colours of the Charlotte Checkers as they needed a backup goaltender!

With Michael Leighton out with an injury and Thomas McCollum unable to get to Winnipeg in time from Stockton, California, the Checkers needed an emergency goaltender for their game against the Moose last night. Jorge Alves has already played his one-game emergency fill-in, so the Moose turned to the local hockey scene and the Manitoba Bisons' netminder was available to watch the game from the best seat in the house!

The 23 year-old answered the call from the Checkers and made his way to MTS Centre where he wore #35 as seen to the right! He had a pretty decent season in Canada West men's hockey this year, posting a 12-8 record with a 2.82 GAA, a .913 save percentage, and three shutouts. He was instrumental down the stretch for the Bisons in helping them secure a playoff spot, and went 1-2 in a three-game series against the Mount Royal Cougars. As you can see, Spriggs got himself his own collector's item with his jersey as the rest of his gear still sported the brown-and-gold of the University of Manitoba. While Charlotte wasn't expecting him to set foot on the ice, would he be called upon in front of family and friends?

The answer would, unfortunately, be no. Daniel Altshuller was outstanding as he made 35 saves in thwarting an outstanding offensive effort by the Moose to help Charlotte to the 4-3 victory. Nevertheless, the young Manitoba netminder did get to take warm-up in the pre-game setup against an AHL squad. He'll always have a jersey, and the memories will be etched into Spriggs' mind forever!

Well done, Bryon Spriggs! A great story for a great kid will finish off this week!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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