MISSION, B.C. — New competition, new rink, new town and yet Tyson Brouwer keeps on doing the same old thing — frustrating opponents.
The 19-year-old native of Lethbridge turned aside 38 pucks as he back-stopped the Kimberley Dynamiters to a 2-1 victory over the host Mission City Outlaws at the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup Friday night.
“It was fun. I’m glad I had a game that was positive in my first game. It’s always nice to start off a tournament with a win,” Brouwer said. “I thought we were a little bit slow tonight, but it kind of got better as the game went on.
“I think everyone was a little bit nervous and that’s what you saw out there.”
Brouwer was brilliant all night long, including a critical penalty-shot save on Outlaws forward Brody Dyck midway through the second period
“Before the shot actually comes, you try and think of all the scenarios that could happen,” Brouwer said. “I had a feeling he was going to shoot, but he ended up deking. It was midway through the period and guys don’t usually deke. But you just try and read him as he’s coming in. Usually by the time he gets pretty close you can tell if he’s going to shoot or deke and he ended up deking, so I read that.”
Dyck went right to left before trying to jam the puck home only to be met by the outstretched pad of Brouwer, who made it look all too easy.
The two teams battled back and forth through 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, with great opportunities coming at both ends of the rink.
Brouwer made a sprawling save midway through the first period, somehow managing to get down and cover enough of the net to keep the scoreless affair in tact. Moments later, Outlaws regular-season scoring champion Bryce Pisiak wired a quick wrist shot from down the left wing, only to be met by the lethal leather of Brouwer’s catching hand.
With time winding down in the first period, Brouwer was once again called upon to make a sprawling save as he reached across his crease with the paddle of his stick to turn aside another Mission City scoring chance.
With Nitros forward Jordan Roy serving a hooking minor in the early stages of the second period, Coy Prevost forced a turnover at the Kimberley blueline before going in on a partial two-on-one against Outlaws goaltender Bryce Phenix. Braden Saretsky appeared to get the final attempt off only to be turned aside by the 5-foot-9 Phenix.
Brouwer came up big in the dying seconds of the second period.
With Lincoln Lane taking a turn in the penalty box, Outlaws defenceman Tristan Dundas unleashed a heavy shot from the point. The puck changed direction on the way to the net and Brouwer was able to make a quick adjustment, squeezing his pads to preserve a scoreless tie with two seconds remaining in the second period.
Fans at the Mission Leisure Centre were finally treated to a goal when Saretsky broke Phenix’s goose egg 1:43 into the third period but all it took was an 11-second span before Outlaws defenceman Brendan Jay sent a point shot through Brouwer to tie the game 1-1.
If Brouwer’s penalty shot robbery was the save of the game, Sawyer Hunt’s game-winning marker was most definitely the goal of the game.
Defenceman James Jowsey started the sequence when he airmailed a long-bomb hail mary pass towards centre ice.
Hunt jumped on his horse, tracking the puck before scooping it up and heading in all alone on Phenix before sliding a shot between the Mission product’s legs.
“I was just on my wall there on the right wing and I saw the puck go up and I always already skating that way,” Hunt said. “I moved my feet, got to the puck and I was a little bit nervous. I don’t really get breakaways all that much. I kind of just faked right and slid it five-hole. I looked back and it was in.”
Chalk up a few more big saves by Brouwer and that’s all she wrote on night one of the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup.
“It’s awesome. If you win two, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get into the final,” Hunt said. “Just getting the first one out of the way as a win, it’s awesome.”
The Nitros surrendered a whopping seven power play opportunities to Mission City in the tournament opener, but managed to kill off each of them.
On one hand, there’s a positive to be taken from the effectiveness of the penalty kill. On the other, there’s the disciplinary concerns.
“We just need to move our feet,” Hunt said. “A couple [penalties] were on the back check and just sticks, I guess. But our penalty kill was unreal tonight — blocking shots and everybody selling out for the team. That was unreal.”
Next up, the Dynamiters (1-0-0) face the Campbell River Storm (1-0-0) at 3 p.m. (PST) Saturday afternoon.
“We definitely need a good start,” Brouwer said. “I think that’s what we’re going to focus on tonight. They’re a good team. We have to respect them. We don’t have to respect them too much though. We’ve got to be ready to go.”
The Storm opened the tournament with a resounding 6-3 victory over the North Vancouver Wolf Pack earlier Friday afternoon.
“I heard they’re pretty good,” Hunt said of the Storm. “We have to come out a little harder than today. We had a pretty slow start today. We’re definitely going to have to come out harder and just play our game like how we’ve been doing all playoffs.”
The Townsman/Bulletin has you covered for the entire 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup as sports editor Taylor Rocca joins the Kimberley Dynamiters in Mission. For full coverage of the Cyclone Taylor Cup, follow Taylor on Twitter (@taylorrocca) and watch dailytownsman.com/kijhl/ and dailybulletin.ca/kijhl/ for daily game stories.