View Full Version : Rowat proving he belongs

11-01-2005, 10:13 AM
A mere four starts into his WHL career, rookie goaltender Linden Rowat is already developing a reputation as a cool customer.

Just don't tell him that.

"I was r-e-e-a-a-l-l-y nervous before the game," Rowat said following a 29-save effort in the Regina Pats' 3-2 win over the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday.

"After I got a couple shots and didn't let any in, I got some confidence and started to calm down a bit. In the second period I came out really confident. I just stayed focused for the rest of the game."

Rowat, 16, has won three of his four contests this season, posting a respectable 2.98 goals-against average.

In his first career start, Rowat had a shutout bid spoiled with 29 seconds left and settled for a 2-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos. He wasn't as fortunate in Game 2, surrendering four goals against the Kelowna Rockets before getting the early hook.

However, the rookie bounced back nicely in his next start, marking 27 saves in a 5-3 win over the Kootenay Ice.

"I had a rough game against Kelowna and from there I built my game up slowly," he said. "It feels good to get some more confidence. The more confidence I have the better I'll be."

The native of Cochrane, Alta., hadn't seen a great deal of rubber in his previous assignments, but there were plenty of scuff marks adorning his jersey after Saturday's encounter with the Blades.

It was clearly his best performance to date.

Saskatoon was all over the Pats in the early going but Rowat held the visitors off the board, allowing Regina to take a 2-0 lead. He also weathered a late storm by the Blades, who came close on several occasions to tying it up in the final 10 minutes of the third period.

Through it all, Rowat maintained his composure, calmly stoning Wacey Rabbit with 11 seconds left to seal the victory.

"He's a mature kid for his age," offered Pats head coach Curtis Hunt, who went with Rowat on Saturday after David Reekie suffered a slight groin injury during Friday's 4-3 loss in Saskatoon. "You always wonder with a young guy: 'Where's he going to be when the heat is really on?' That was a great step tonight for Linden."

Rowat, who spent last season with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, was labelled Regina's goalie of the future when he was selected in the third round of the 2004 WHL bantam draft. The 6-foot-2, 172-pounder affirmed the Pats' faith this fall by beating out Ryan Nieszner for the backup job.

Reekie has been outstanding in his first season as Regina's undisputed starter, but Rowat's performance to this point has also helped solidify the team's depth at that position.

Although Reekie is expected to see the bulk of the icetime this season, Rowat plans to make the most of his opportunities. His goals are relatively straightforward.

"To be the best 16-year-old goalie in the league," he said, "and hopefully win a lot more games than I lose."