A crowded crease has actually provided dividends for the Espanola Paper Kings of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League thus far this season.
Injuries have led to the Paper Kings having to use four goalies in 19 games. And all four Espanola goalies have posted at least one win for the Paper Kings, who take a record of 9-7-3 into play this week.
Jake Marois, who began the season on the injured list, has been sensational in the three games that he has since played. Marois (pictured above) has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.36 goals against average and .940 save percentage for the Paper Kings. The 19-year old was acquired by Espanola from the Sudbury Cubs in a summer time NOJHL trade.
Rookie Drew Gaulton, a 16-year old Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Sudbury Wolves, was playing very well for Espanola before being injured. Gaulton has a 4-3-1 record with a 3.33 goals against average and .907 save percentage.
Then there is Creedon Dyck, who has a 2-3-2 record with a 3.23 goals against average and .898 save percentage for the Paper Kings. And a fourth goalie, Mitchell Webb, has a 1-0-0 record with a 3.52 goals against average and .850 save percentage.
Sub par goaltending was one reason why Espanola missed the playoffs in 2021-2002 with a record of 13-31-4. Espanola used six goalies who combined for a 4.53 goals against average in ’21-22. Only Patrick Boivin, was traded to the Blind River Beavers at mid season by his own request, stood out for Espanola in ’21-22 with an 8-13-2 record. Without Boivin — who is now with the Timmins Rock — in net, Espanola had a record of 5-18-2 in ’21-22.