Goaltenders are easily forgotten all too often. Hockey’s masked men between the pipes are, arguably, the bravest and most courageous of all hockey players — stepping in front of booming slap shots and standing their ground even when hundreds of pounds of humanity come barreling towards their crease.
Sunday afternoon may not have been the busiest of outings for goaltender Tyson Brouwer, but a 17-save shutout in a 9-0 victory over the Grand Forks Border Bruins provided opportunity to recognize the backbone of the Kimberley Dynamiters success this season.
“He’s just such a character guy,” said Nitros captain Jason Richter Sunday afternoon in between signing autographs for adoring fans. “He’s a solid goalie, but I think what’s best about him is after the game, he thanks everyone. He thanks all the players for getting the shutout. He’s just that kind of guy.
“He’s going to carry our team. All teams need an MVP goalie if they want to go far in the playoffs.”
Brouwer, a 19-year-old native of Lethbridge, is in his second season with the Dynamiters. After serving as backup to Jeremy Mousseau during the 2013-14 KIJHL campaign, the 5-foot-11 puck-stopper took over the reins this season and has been a difference-maker for his club.
In 36 games, Brouwer has gone 24-9-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average (third in the KIJHL) and 0.912 save percentage. His 24 victories rank second in the league, behind only Lawrence Langan (25 wins) of the KIJHL’s top-ranked Osoyoos Coyotes.
“I care more about a win than a shutout, obviously,” Brouwer said Sunday. “Like I said to the guys, I couldn’t have gotten the shutout without them tonight. It’s 9-0 and they’re still blocking shots, so I give credit to the team for that one.”
To say Brouwer has been the workhorse for the Nitros is an understatement. Only three goaltenders in the KIJHL have played more minutes than Brouwer, who has spent 2,113 minutes in the Dynamiters crease this season.
Sunday’s shutout was Brouwer’s second of the campaign and the victory marked eight in a row for the Dynamiters, as they try to pin down second place in the Eddie Mountain Division.
At the other end of the rink, the Dynamiters put nine pucks past Grand Forks Border Bruins goaltender Jacob Krupp.
Richter tallied one of the nine markers and set up two others, pulling into a tie for the KIJHL scoring lead with Osoyoos Coyotes forward Aaron Azevedo at 66 points.
“He’s a great guy. He’s obviously skilled, everybody knows that,” Brouwer said of his captain. “But he’s the heart and soul of this team.
“I don’t know if we could really do it without him.”
Friday night, the Nitros sent a message by out-duelling the 2014-15 Eddie Mountain Division-champion Fernie Ghostriders by a final tally of 3-1.
The long weekend was a busy one for the Dynamiters, as team hardware was handed out at the club’s annual awards and volunteer banquet Saturday night.
2014-15 Kimberley Dynamiters award winners:Team MVP: Jason RichterBest Defenceman: Jordan BuschLeading Scorer: Jason RichterRookie of the Year: Coy PrevostFan Favourite: Jared MarchiMost-Improved Forward: Keenan HaaseMost-Improved Defenceman: Rory MallardMost Inspirational: Jason RichterMost Sportsmanlike: James JowseyScholastic Player of the Year: Jesse WallaceCoaches Award: Tyler Kinnon and Tyson Brouwer20-year-old Recognition Award: James JowseyBloggers Choice Award: Coy PrevostExtra Coaches Recognition Award: Eric Buckley