In his rookie season with the Dauphin Kings, 18-year-old Brian Archibald from Killarney, led the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with a 2.48 goals-against average and is tied for fourth in the loop with a .913 save percentage. (FILE PHOTO)
One of the top goalies in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League during his days with the Southwest Cougars, Brian Archibald has continued that trend at the Junior A level.
In his rookie season with the Dauphin Kings, the 18-year-old from Killarney leads the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with a 2.48 goals-against average and is tied for fourth in the loop with a .913 save percentage.
That Archibald would adapt well to the next level is not surprising — he helped Southwest reach back-to-back provincial Midget AAA finals and was the all-star goalie as the host Cougars were the runners-up at last year’s Telus Cup regional championship — but this season has been beyond even his own expectations.
"Coming into camp I wanted to leave a good impression on (Kings head coach Marlin Murray) and (assistant coach Marc Berry) and all the scouts here," said Archibald, who has a stellar 12-3 win-loss record.
"I wanted to play my way onto the team. I didn’t want to play my way off, so to speak. I think I left a good impression thus far, but nothing’s obviously been completed yet with still half the season left. So I’m going to continue to push myself and others around me and hopefully we can make a run at a championship this year."
It’s helped that Archibald hasn’t had to shoulder the bulk of the load for the Kings. Jeremy Pominville, a 19-year-old who played last season in Ontario — including two games with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves — has played in 26 games this season to Archibald’s 15 and is fifth in the MJHL with a 2.68 GAA. Together they’ve backstopped Dauphin to second place in the Sher-Wood Division and second overall in the MJHL with a 27-11-2 record, only three points behind the first-place OCN Blizzard, with five games in hand.
Already a contender, the Kings bolstered their lineup with last week’s addition of defenceman Ryley Miller, a former member of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings.
"We already had a solid foundation, obviously, since we were ranked, I think it was eighth, in Canada," Archibald said. "We brought (Miller) here at the deadline which should help us down the stretch. It’s great to see and I’m excited to see how things play out."
Playing on a contending club now could pay dividends in the future for Archibald. He has his sights set on earning an NCAA scholarship and the more big games the Kings play in over the next couple of seasons, the better his chances of catching the eyes of university scouts.
"We have a great team and a chance at a championship and next year we’re hosting the 2014 Western (Junior A) Championship, so obviously there’s going to be lots of scouts and what not at our games. …
"I don’t have much control over who comes to our games and who sees them, but all I can control is how I play and hopefully I can work hard and get my name out there eventually and see what comes down the road."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 15, 2013