Leyshon will remain Riggers starting goalie

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

The outstanding 27-save relief performance doesn't cloud the Calgary Roughnecks goaltending situation for the man who put on the show.

Ryan Avery isn't holding out hope of becoming the new starter after replacing Andrew Leyshon in Saturday's 15-14 victory over the Minnesota Swarm.

"No way," said the 24-year-old Avery. "Andrew is the No.-1 goalie here.

"I'm hoping I don't have to go in again all year long because that means he's doing well, we're winning and going to the championship. I don't mind sitting because that means we're not losing any games.

"This is his team. He's going to be the guy here all season long."

Avery, who arrived in Calgary midway through last season in a trade with Buffalo, saw his first serious action between the pipes and didn't disappoint.

The Swarm had some offensive momentum going when it scored three times on Leyshon in a span of

90 seconds halfway through the second quarter.

So the backup had no real warning about going in and was extremely nervous before making his first save about a minute later.

Once Avery pulled on his mask, the entire team started to play better and rattled off four straight goals before halftime. In that span, Avery only had to make five saves but all were key to the sophomore's confidence.

He finished up strong as well, making several key stops in the final minutes to preserve the win over the Swarm and move the Roughnecks to 3-1 on the season.

The switch gave the Roughnecks the momentum swing head coach Chris Hall was hoping for but he hasn't changed his goaltending allegiance.

"Leyshon is our No. 1 guy and we have confidence in him," Hall said. "We didn't play well in front of Andrew for that particular stretch.

"One of the things the guys must have thought was this is one of Ryan's first games in this league and they will have to play some defence now.

"We didn't know how Ryan was going to do back there. The great news is he played great. This is a tough league to experiment in. It's 20-20 hindsight that it was the right time to do it."

Hall talked with his assistants about putting Leyshon back in but Avery never gave them an opportunity. Of the seven goals Avery allowed, six were on Swarm powerplays when shooters were given open looks.

"There was no reason to remove him," Hall said. "Ryan did a great job. It's great for us to know he can play. It's great for the coaching staff and for our team to have confidence in his ability."

Heading into this season, the main question mark for the Riggers was whether Leyshon could step up and become the No. 1 goalie a championship contender needs.

In four starts, Leyshon holds a .729 save percentage, putting him 14th in the league. Yet Hall made it clear after the win Leyshon would get the nod when Calgary heads to San Jose for Saturday's tilt against the Stealth.

Although Leyshon said it was a tough outing for him personally, he was pleased to see Avery play well.

"In this league, you will have a rough night every once in a while," said the 26-year-old.

"You just have to come back and forget it by the next weekend.

"It's good to know if I do get pulled, Avery can come in and do the job.

"Obviously it's motivation for me but it's also good to see the team do well."


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