Colorado Eagles veteran goal tender Kyle Jones has the most victories of any Eagles goal tender ever, but newcomer rookie Adam Brown continues to play well and press for more playing time.
Their differences are striking: one, the 29-year-old veteran goalie who has the most wins in Colorado Eagles history and at 190 pounds packs a ‘big butterfly’. The other is a rookie, playing his first professional season between the pipes, stopping 95-mile-per-hour pucks with a 165-pound body. But Jones and Brown want only one thing: to will their team to win.
“Thinking, for me, is a bad thing," said Jones, a veteran goaltender. "So I try not to think very much on the ice.”
“Here, everybody’s at the same level, everybody’s good," said Brown, a rookie goaltender. "Here, it’s all men.”
It is one of the most pressure-ridden positions in all of sports: guarding the goal.
“It’s one of the most demanding positions," Ryan Bach, Eagles goalie coach. "The pressures and anxieties that you have to deal with.”
Jones is the incumbent: with 69 career wins he's the winningest Eagle ever.
“My Dad taught me a lot growing up ‘cause he used to play goalie,” Jones said. “I’ve been playing goal since I was a kid.”
Dad was decidedly 'old school', but Jonesy has some 'new school' in him, too.
“The butterfly," Jones demonstrated. "Just being big and blocking.”
His size is an advantage, but his greatest asset?
“I think confidence. I’ve had a few tough games this year, but that’s one thing about me, my confidence doesn’t really waver, "said Jones. "I know what I’m capable of doing, and it’s just a matter of getting back to doing it.”
And then there's the rookie: NHL-wannabe Adam Brown.
“It’s a bit different from Junior; you have a lot more freedom, you have to take care of yourself a lot more," Brown said. "But I’m adjusting to it, I’m getting used to it.”
Small in stature, quickness is Brown's advantage.
“I like to think that’s the strength of my game,” Brown said.
“For smaller goal tenders, you have to play big. If you’re playing big, you’re on top your crease, you’re challenging," Bach said. "It can make a significant difference regardless of weight.”
Brown has some NHL pedigree: his cousin is Av's forward Matt Duchene and his dad is an assistant for Vancouver.
“Nothing’s been handed to him through his career; he’s had to come in here and make this team this season," said NHL coach Newell Brown. "He’s earned it every step of the way and he’s had to wait a little bit of time to get his opportunity.”
It's all about movements and angles, positioning and rebound control -- and that mental factor.
“It really comes down to that. It’s a game of ebbs and flows," Bach said. "The most successful goalies at this level are the ones that can deal with those pressures.”
And so it pays to have your biggest competitor -- and your road roommate -- on your side.
“We’re both competitors, we both want to win. We both want to play as much as possible. I think that’s a good attitude to have," Jones said. "But we’re both supportive of the other guy.”
The Eagles start a three-game set Wednesday night at the Budweiser Events Center.