September 17, 2011
Owuya looks shaky
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - For a while it seemed one-time rapper Mark Owuya would have been better off at the national anthem tryouts at the ACC than starting in goal at Maple Leafs camp.
To say Owuya was intimidated by his first exposure to NHL-calibre shooters was a gross understatement. Four of the first five shots found their way in and he gave up six in total during a 35-minute scrimmage. Teammate James Reimer paused to give the 22-year-old an extra word of encouragement during one of their rotations.
Owuya is a free agent who signed an entry level contract this summer, but will likely start at the bottom of the chain. He has been a curiosity at camp, a Ugandan-Russian raised in Sweden with no exposure to hockey until about a decade ago. Yet he had the best goals-against average in the Swedish Elite League (2.18) last season.
“That first part of the scrimmage, he might have been nervous,” coach Ron Wilson said. “But he played well in the rookie tournament. It’s just one of those things. You don’t write anyone off after one day.”
Owuya was much more composed in his second game, after his group shifted next door to the practice rink at the MasterCard Centre. That was about the time goalie coach Francois Allaire left his spot in Leaf rink. Owuya came back out and allowed one goal.
Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens handled the bulk of the chances during the three games. Scrivens made two spectacular diving saves, one without a stick with just four seconds remaining to preserve a shutout.