Last June, the Calgary Hitmen goaltender Marty Jones was disappointed after going unclaimed at the NHL Entry Draft.
Now, after signing a three-year deal with the Lost Angeles Kings earlier in the season, he's one of the top 'tenders in junior hockey.
Jones, who has posted a WHL-best 14 wins this season, was named the CHL goaltender of the week after winning three road games.
"It's definitely exciting to be recognized a little bit," said Jones, whose Hitmen host the Prince Albert Raiders tonight at the 'Dome (7 p.m., Fan 960). "But the most important thing is we swept the Eastern swing, and we're really clicking."
Jones (14-2-1 with a 1.87 GAA and .921 save percentage) would rather credit his teammates for the club's blistering start (21-4-1-0).
But he's seeing the puck extremely well now.
"You get into a zone and you feel really big in the net," said Jones, who has won seven straight starts. "The puck starts to feel like a beach ball out there. But you have to keep working hard and stay focused at all times."
Jones received a free-agent invite to the Kings' rookie camp in September, moved on to tmain camp and earned a pro contract. That experience did wonders for his confidence.
"I definitely had a good experience down there, he said. "Just being able to see those guys and how professional they are, to see how they carry themselves before an after practice, I learned a lot."
The Hitmen haven't needed their golatender to steal many games this season. But head coach Dave Lowry credited Jones with almost single-handedly winning two of the club's four road games last week.
Leading scorer Brett Sonne , a St. Louis Blues prospect, said Jones' work ethic has been impressive.
"He was a unreal (last week)," Sonne said. "He's more than capable of stealing games with his skill-set and attitude towards the game."