Roller-coaster ride in first pro season

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- With the Canadian World Junior Hockey Championship tryout camp a few days away, Sun hockey writer Ken Wiebe takes a look at how some of our world champs from 2005 are making the transition to the pro game in part four of a five-part series we call: Golden Boys. Today we focus on goalie Rejean Beauchemin and forward Nigel Dawes.

Rejean Beauchemin admits to wondering what it might have been like to be between the pipes with the gold medal on the line, but he didn't let those thoughts consume him.

Instead of being asked to backstop his country to its first gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, N.D., since 1997 last January, Beauchemin had one of the best seats in the house as Jeff Glass led Canada throughout most of the tournament and helped them win it all.

Not that he's complaining, Beauchemin could have been watching the game on TV if it weren't for an exceptional camp in his own backyard roughly 12 months ago.

"Definitely you want to play more, but Jeff is a great goalie. You can't control other people's decisions, that's just the way it was," Beauchemin, a Winnipegger, said Thursday night from Georgia, where his Trenton Titans were getting set to face the Gwinnett Gladiators. "In the end, we all came home with medals around our necks and rings on our fingers. We had such a great team. It'll go down in history and it's great to have that bond with so many great players and great people.

"It was unbelievable to get the call telling me I was on the team. The whole month was just a dream."

Beauchemin, who posted a shutout in his only tournament action, completed his stellar Western Hockey League career with the Prince Albert Raiders last season and opened the current campaign with the Philadelphia Phantoms.

After appearing in eight games, Beauchemin was reassigned to the Titans, the Flyers' ECHL affiliate.

BUSINESS SIDE

"It's been pretty exciting, emotional going through training camp and being on the ice with guys like Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg," said Beauchemin. "Getting into your first pro game is fun. Then you see the business side of it and the numbers game when things don't go the way you think they would. It wasn't so much disappointment as it was a surprise. I thought I was playing well."

Rather than getting down, Beauchemin is handling the situation the same way he handled being Glass' backup -- by staying upbeat and working hard.

"Your goal is to play at the highest level possible, but it's not like I'm playing in a bad league," said Beauchemin, noting the crackdown on obstruction hasn't been applied to officiating standards in the ECHL. "I have faith in the Flyers organization."

Phantoms head coach John Stevens says the move to the ECHL was made to get Beauchemin some more playing time.

"The fact we weren't scoring any goals really put a lot of pressure on a young guy," said Stevens. "He played some good spells for us but his confidence was kind of waning. It's got nothing to do with our perception of him as a player. We still think very highly of him.

"He's a good kid, he's got a good attitude and he wants to get better. He's got a good work ethic. It's just part of the process young goalies go through."

BY THE NUMBERS

Here are the stats from this season for Dawes and Beauchemin:

Nigel Dawes

GP G A Pts PIM

Hartford Wolf Pack 22 10 7 17 8

Rejean Beauchemin

Philadelphia Phantoms* 2-4-1, 2.79 GAA, .915 save%

Trenton Titans (ECHL) 1-4-1, 3.54 GAA, .896 save%

* no longer with team

-- before last night's games


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