Ondrej, Pheonix rise from AHL ashes

A week ago, goalies faced one another in minors


Advertise with us

Just one week ago, Ondrej Pavelec and Pheonix Copley stood tall at the MTS Centre as their respective American Hockey League teams met in a two-game series.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$1.50 for 150 days*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Pay $1.50 for the first 22 weeks of your subscription. After 22 weeks, price increases to the regular rate of $19.00 per month. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled after the first 22 weeks.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/01/2017 (2075 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Just one week ago, Ondrej Pavelec and Pheonix Copley stood tall at the MTS Centre as their respective American Hockey League teams met in a two-game series.

On Saturday afternoon, the two goalies were again between the pipes — but under a much more intense spotlight.

Pavelec and Copley have been summoned from the farm as their struggling National Hockey League teams look for some emergency help in keeping pucks out of the net.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS St. Louis Blues goaltender Pheonix Copley makes an heroic save on Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault during the second period, Saturday.

Life moves fast, especially with such a fine line between winning and losing.

Pavelec came out on top Saturday, leading the Jets to their second consecutive victory since being called up from the Manitoba Moose.

Following the game, the 29-year-old goalie wasn’t taking anything for granted given the recent turn of events with his career.

“I take it day by day. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, to be honest. I don’t ask, I don’t want to know. I’m just going to show up, and whatever they tell me do I’m going to do it,” Pavelec said

Copley was the hard-luck loser in his first career NHL start.

Despite being beaten five times, the 25-year-old from North Pole, Alaska, made several highlight-reel saves.

“I think a couple of those were stoppable on my end, and it’s a different game. But it was good to get in there and get in a game, and we’ll go from there,” Copley said. “I felt good going in, and I felt confident the whole way through.”

The Blues have been a mess in net recently, having surrendered 13 goals in two losses earlier this week before arriving in Winnipeg.

They’ve given starter Jake Allen some time away from the team for an apparent mental break in an attempt to find his game, which is why Copley got the call from the AHL.

Copley’s debut came in a familiar building. Last week, he stopped 35 shots as his Chicago Wolves beat the Manitoba Moose 4-2.

Two days later, Pavelec shone in net for the Moose in stopping 43 shots in a 4-1 win over Copley’s Wolves.

Both goalies were called up to the NHL days later.

“It is kind of ironic, a familiar building. Different locker room over here than the one we used over there, but that’s about it,” Copley said Saturday.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec gets scored on by St. Louis Blues' Paul Stastny in the third period, Saturday.

Given the similar circumstances of how they got to the NHL this past week, there was a clear sense of mutual respect between the goalies.

“Pavelec played a heck of a game down there,” said Copley.

“I don’t think that goalie had a chance to stop those pucks. It was a tough game for that other goalie, he made some huge saves over there,” said Pavelec.

Although he seems likely to have earned himself another start with the Jets, Pavelec said he’s living in the moment.

“That’s the way it is. In the next week I could be in the minors again. I go day by day. Every time I get the chance to play I’m going to try my best. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice left open the possibility Saturday of keeping three goalies on the NHL roster for the foreseeable future.

Pavelec admitted it creates a “tough situation” especially when it comes to quality practice time, but said it’s manageable.

“We’re all pros. It’s like training camp, there are usually more than three goalies in training camp. We know each other, we’re all pros. We can handle it, we know how to handle it. A few teams do that around the NHL, and that’s the way we’re going to do it, I guess,” he said.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us