The puck stops with Halverson

February 2, 2015

It’s the big question being asked around Houndtown.

Can second-year goalie Brandon Halverson backstop the star-studded Soo Greyhounds to an Ontario Hockey League championship this 2014-2015 season?

It’s the million-dollar question in what has become a hundred-million dollar OHL.

To be sure, the Greyhounds loaded up at the OHL trade deadline to add one world-class skater after another to a team already full of impact players.

But the Hounds chose to stick with Halverson as their no. 1 goalie despite the fact that he ranks only ninth statistically among all OHL puck-stoppers.

Yes, Halverson has a record of 25-3-2 but that is more about who is he playing for. His so-called personal numbers are not great by any means — a 2.94 goals-against-average and .906 save percentage.

What is surprising to some is that while the Hounds were moving future draft picks for star players quicker than daily lunch specials are served by super server Sally at Muio’s, they failed to trade for overage goalie Jake Paterson when they could have.

Instead, Paterson — who is a top National Hockey League goaltending prospect of the Detroit Red Wings — ended up being dealt from the Saginaw Spirit to the Kitchener Rangers for a second-and-a-third-round draft pick.

All Paterson has done since going to Kitchener is steal wins for the Rangers with a record of 6-2-1, a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage heading into play this week.

Oh well, what is done is done.

Paterson is a lone Ranger of sorts and Halverson remains the masked man of Houndtown.

It should be noted that Halverson is thought of by many as a good goalie, including the New York Rangers, who took him in the second round of the 2014 NHL draft.

But his aforementioned stats suggest that Halverson is not one of the OHL’s top goalies — at least this season.

He’s not Paterson.

He’s not Lucas Peressini of the Kingston Frontenacs.

He’s not Ken Appleby of the Oshawa Generals.

He’s not in the same class of Greyhound goalies from days of old, be it Kevin Hodson or Danny Cloutier or Kyle Gajewski.

But he — meaning Halverson — is who the hopes of Houndtown rest with.

He is the last line of defence.

If the puck does not stop with Halverson it will likely mean yet-another season without an OHL championship for the boys who wear red and white — and their fans alike.

PHOTO: For the Soo Greyhounds, the puck stops with Brandon Halverson.

What you think about “The puck stops with Halverson”

    1. If they traded for Paterson obviously they wouldn’t have traded for Boland as part of the Ritchie deal.

  1. Nice article RR. I hope the Greyhounds go all the way to the Mem Cup but I don’t have a lot of faith in Halverson. This could prove to be a huge miscalculation on the part of Greyhound management. Playoff hockey will not be “run and gun” and solid, defensive hockey will prevail. That usually requires excellent goaltending.
    On another note, a couple of years ago, the Plymouth Whalers benched its starter (Matt Mahalak I believe) and rode a 16 yr old Alex Nedeljkovic all the way to the conference finals. I just don’t think Raaymakers is ready for that load but you never know. Sheldon Keefe doesn’t seem the type to go down with Halverson if he faulters.

  2. I know I’m in the minority but I feel Halverson has been improving as the season has gone on. His last regulation loss was over 3 months ago. He turns 19 next month when the playoffs start so he’s not exactly a “kid”. Team defense will also play a large role in the Soo’s success.

  3. Back off the kid. He is in his first full season as a starter. He is developing and improving. What is expected a shutout every game? Nobody is perfect. As the last comment pointed out his last regulation loss was over 3 months ago. If the Hounds management did not have confidence in him they would have made a trade. Goalie position is key but its a team game, all components must fit together and there must be a defense in front of him. The hopes of hound town rest on each and everyone one of those players not just Halverson. You are correct he is not anyone of those players you mentioned he is Halverson with his own style of play, hard working, dedicated and a strong commitment to winning. Hounds management, Team USA and the New York Rangers believe in him. During this last half of the season and gear up for the playoffs there should be nothing but support for this kid and the team. As you said “what is done is done” so get over it and move on…

  4. I am just curious to know if you have changed your mind on Halverson two month later? He has put up good enough numbers to have finished third overall among OHL goalies in the regular season and so far is unbeaten in the playoff while ranked second.

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