Having stopped an impressive 93 per cent of the shots he has faced over two separate Ontario Hockey League auditions with the Sudbury Wolves, David Bowen is stealing the show with the Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in the meantime.
Originally a 13th round pick by Sudbury at the 2016 OHL priority selections draft, Bowen has certainly shown what he can do when given the chance by the Wolves.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Bowen posted a 1-1 record with a .902 save percentage and 3.65 goals against average in two OHL appearances with the Wolves in 2017-2018.
And while Sudbury only called on Bowen for one OHL game in 2018-2019, he answered the call in spectacular fashion with a 1-0 record, .960 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average.
In between, Bowen has been an NOJHL standout with Rayside Balfour.
Over the course of the 2018-2019 NOJHL campaign with Rayside Balfour, Bowen posted a 13-9-2 regular season record with a .916 save percentage and 3.15 goals against average. He followed that up with a playoff record of 6-5-1, a .926 save percentage and 2.74 goals against average.
And thus far this 2019-2020 NOJHL season, Bowen has a 5-1-0 record with a .940 save percentage and 2.23 goals against average.
In the meantime, Soo Eagles head coach Doug Laprade has certainly seen enough of Bowen over last NOJHL season and into this one.
“Nothing against Rayside as a team because that’s a good team there but David Bowen has won four or five games on his own just against us, going back to season,” Laprade noted.
“He should be playing somewhere in the OHL,” Laprade said of Bowen. “I have watched enough of him to say that he is an OHL caliber goalie, without question.”
As far as the OHL goes, Sudbury still holds Bowen’s OHL rights. And Wolves general manager Rob Papineau had plenty good to say about Bowen when contacted by Hockey News North.
“He has done a really nice job for us in a few spot starts over the past two seasons and is a good goalie and a good kid, of that there is no doubt,” Papineau began.
The Sudbury GM then offered his take on why Bowen did not make the Wolves to start this season with goalie positions open following the graduation of 2018-2019 OHL most valuable player Ukko Pekka Luukkonen.
“We knew we would not have Ukko back and we wanted to try to get a goalie with OHL experience which is why we went out (in early September) and traded for Christian Purboo (from the North Bay Battalion),” Papineau relayed. “From there, it came down to choosing between David, Jonathan Lemaire and Mitchell Weeks for the backup job behind Purboo.”
Weeks was coming off an outstanding 2018-2019 season with the Newmarket Hurricanes of the Ontario Jr. Hockey League in which he posted a 16-11-0 record to go with a .941 save percentage and 1.72 goals against average. (Weeks, Lemaire, Bowen and two others all saw time with the Wolves last season as backups to the aforementioned Luukkonen.)
At any rate, Papineau and Wolves head coach Cory Stillman opted to go with Weeks as the backup to Purboo to start the current OHL season while reassigning Bowen to Rayside Balfour and Lemaire to the Blind River Beavers, also of the NOJHL.
“It is a matter of us having a lot of depth at the goalie position,” Papineau continued. “Purboo, who we got from North Bay, has a full season of OHL experience and Weeks, Lemaire and Bowen have all played games for us.
“Right now, Purboo and Weeks are our goalies. And we know that we have Bowen and Lemaire close by, if needed, playing in a very good league that the NOJHL is,” Papineau added.
In response to a question, Papineau answered, without hesitation, that if another OHL team inquired about Bowen, he would never stand in the goalie’s way.
Regarding the age of the four goalies, Purboo and Bowen were both born in 2000, Weeks has a 2001 birth date, and Lemaire is the youngest as a 2002 birth year prospect.
And as Purboo and Weeks are in the OHL with Sudbury, Bowen and Lemaire are a phone call away in the NOJHL.
PHOTO: Goalie David Bowen, in NOJHL action for the Rayside Balfour Canadians.