Martin Jones has been a wall the entire season.
So it’s not like his Calgary Hitmen teammates have been surprised by the goaltender’s stellar play in the post-
Jones, the Eastern Conference nominee for goaltender of the year, added to his trophy collection Friday night at the Saddledome when he was named MVP of the conference final.
“That’s a bit of the bonus,” said Jones, who is always quick to shift the focus onto his teammates when credit is doled out.
“We’re happy with how we played the last game.
“It was probably the first time all series where we put our foot down for 60 minutes.”
The Hitmen brought their best effort of the playoffs in Game 5 and were never in serious jeopardy of having to climb back on the bus for a potential Game 6 in Brandon.
“As a team, we played better defensively as the series went along and limited their odd-man rushes,” Jones said.
“It’s easy for me when we play like that.”
Jones wasn’t forced to stand on his head in the clincher like he did in Games 3 and 4 in Brandon, when he faced a combined 80 shots and pulled out a pair of massive road victories.
Defenceman Matt MacKenzie, who scored the final goal in Friday’s 6-1 route, said having Jones between the pipes gives his club all kinds of confidence heading into the WHL Championship.
“It’s easy to play when you know if you make a mistake, he’s going to bail you out,” MacKenzie said.
“He’s been doing that this whole playoffs.”
If not for Jones’ heroics in Brandon, the Eastern Conference final would still be going on.
“He was good all year, but this series, he brought his game to another level,” MacKenzie said.
“(The Wheat Kings) could even be ahead in this series if he didn’t steal a few games.”