Landon Bow has given Mark Lamb two quality options in goal this season
The rise of Landon Bow has left Swift Current Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb with an enviable dilemma.
Bow, 18, has established himself as a legitimate starting goaltender in the Western Hockey League during his second season in the league to compliment number one goalie Eetu Laurikainen.
Bow’s value was evident Saturday when he replaced Laurikainen during the first period in Moose Jaw and made 23 saves on 24 shots as the Broncos erased a 3-0 first-period deficit for a 5-4 overtime win.
“I just knew I had to come in and mentally focus because our first period was a little bit soft and I knew that the guys would come back after because that is not who we are. We are not a soft team, we are a hard team and they came back from it,” said Bow.
Bow said coming off the bench midway through a game is never easy but it is something that he must be prepared to do.
“It is tough,” admitted Bow. “You really want to get some shots on you quickly once you get in so you can get right into it. But if you don’t get too many shots too early it can get even colder out there. You just have to be ready for anything.”
Bow was drafted in the fourth round, 78th overall, in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. He made his debut last season as a backup to Laurikainen and posted a respectable 5-4-1-0 record with a 3.09 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.
“Yeah last year I was pretty inconsistent,” admitted Bow. “This year I really wanted to focus on getting my consistency up. I have been able to do that and when I go out on the ice I feel so much more confident that I can do it against anybody every night.”
The 6’4’’, 225-pound St. Albert native has made tremendous strides in all statistical categories this season, including a 7-2-0-1 record, a .917 save percentage, and a 2.55 GAA.
“He has been great all season. I think he has turned himself into a legit number one goaltender in this league,” said Lamb.
“I think it is the extra year of experience that really adds to the confidence,” said Bow. “When you are in your first year you are really nervous about everything and when you don’t play a lot it is kind of tough when you do get in there because you feel like there is a lot more weight on you. This year, being able to play more and just having that year under my belt really helps me become more confident out here.”
He has been solid all season for the Broncos but he has been outstanding since his worst outing of the season on November 2 when he allowed four goals on 18 shots before being pulled against the visiting Saskatoon Blades. In the five games since that shaky performance Bow has allowed only eight goals on 156 shots for a sparkling .948 save percentage.
“I think it was some extra motivation because whenever you get pulled you are not happy. You just want to get back in there and show that it was just one game and you can play past that and you don’t let it bother you,” said Bow.
“We have great goaltending with Eetu and him. It happened in the Saskatoon game when we had to take Bow out and put Eetu in and we came back,” explained Lamb. “Last night he returned the favor to Eetu. It wasn’t like Eetu was playing bad there either, it was just to change the momentum. When you can go from a number one to a number one it makes a big difference for your hockey club.”
Bow’s bounce-back performance was recognized two week’s ago when he was the WHL nominee for the CHL Vaughn Goaltender of the Week after making 63 saves on 66 shots against Moose Jaw and Calgary. Not bad for a ‘backup’ netminder.
“It was a huge honour just knowing that my work has been noticed that far up, so it was an honour that they would pick me for that. It was nice to be able to have the best stats in the league for a week. It kinds of drives me to try and get more,” said Bow.
Lamb said that Bow is now garnering attention from National Hockey League scouts for next year’s NHL Entry Draft. Bow is currently seventh in the WHL in save percentage and 10th in goals against average.
“I haven’t heard anything yet but I can’t let the draft get into my head too much,” cautioned Bow. “I just have to worry about playing and if things happen then they’ll happen. If not, then I just have to keep going like I am and just keep playing good.”