Flyers netminder Owen backs team mates to come good

Fife Flyers netminder Shane Owen. Pic: Dean Woolley
Fife Flyers netminder Shane Owen. Pic: Dean Woolley

Fife Flyers netminder Shane Owen insists he has faith in the players in front of him despite facing more shots than any other goalie in the Elite League so far.

Flyers are on a four-game losing skid, and have won just three times in 12 games, but the 26-year-old Canadian has remained a stand-out performer throughout.

In eight league games so far, Owen has faced 314 shots – an average of almost 40 per game – but his save percentage of .930 is among the best in the EIHL.

His team mates may have struggled to match his form, but Owen firmly believes that the current crop of skaters will come good.

“We’ve got a tonne of skill and talent - we’ve just got to get back to work starting this week in practice,” he said.

“We need to have a compete level all week, raise it up a bit and be ready to go for the weekend.

“We’ve just got to play the full 60 minutes and be ready to go as soon as we step on the ice.”

Owen’s impressive performances this season - which include an 82-shot weekend shut-out - have resulted in him winning two EIHL Player of the Week awards.

For Owen, it’s just been a case of picking up where he left off at the end of last season with Elmira Jackals in the East Coast Hockey League.

“I had a great season last year back home,” he said.

“Towards the end we had eight wins and one loss before play-offs and I had good numbers so I felt good.

“I trained hard all summer coming into this year, and things are moving well so far.

“The awards from the league were awesome but I have to give credit to the defence and the team for battling, especially with the injuries we’ve had and those two weekends where we had four D.

“They worked hard and make my job a lot easier.

“The game in North America is not as wide open as this so you don’t face as many shots.

“It usually 25 to 30 per game so you’re facing 50-60 a weekend, as opposed to 82.

“It’s a little bit of a change, but it’s good and I’m getting used to it.

“Mentally you’ve just got to stay focused and be prepared for anything.”

Despite all the plaudits, Owen admits that the curse of the netminder means that he will also be critical of any goal he concedes.

“I think I can save everything - if I don’t why am I out there?” he said.

“My job is to keep that puck out of the net and do the best I can.

“It’s been good so far but there’s stuff you regret too and shots you think you could’ve saved.

“Personally I’m feeling good and seeing the puck well - the defence are helping me out with that.

“But there’s been too many losses in my eyes - no-one likes losing - so as long as we get back in that winning column, everything will be good.”

After the disappointment of back-to-back defeat to Sheffield Steelers, Owen hopes Flyers can get back on track in the Dundee Stars double-header this weekend.

“Sheffield are a good team,” he said.

“They have depth and they worked hard in both games for the full 60 minutes.

“It was tough down there - we played well but there was no way back after their third goal, which I thought was goalie interference.

“Their guy ran into me and pushed me out the net, and I didn’t have a chance to come back. The call stood and it was tought to come back from that.

“Sunday was tough too, going 4-0 down at home, but as a goalie you’ve just got to focus on the next shot and take it period-by-period.

“At that point I was just trying to keep it at four and give the boys a chance to rally back.

“We scored a couple and we saw some life and had a nice push there but it was a little too late.

“This weekend is going to be huge.

“We need to start getting in that win column - we need it as a team for sure..

“That’s why we’re here – we’ve built a team to win games so we have to start battling in practice this week and be ready to go this weekend.”