Hockey fans in Cranbrook were witness to the stellar performance of rookie goaltender Declan Hobbs this past week and folks around the Western Hockey League took notice as well.
Monday afternoon, Hobbs, 17, was named the WHL’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Week honours after going 1-1-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .957 save percentage this past week.
“He’s steady,” said Ice alternate captain Matt Alfaro Saturday night. ” I know I trust him and I know the rest of the team does.”
Hobbs opened his week with a 39-save effort Tuesday in a 2-0 loss to the Everett Silvertips.
From there, the 6-foot, 178-pound native of Saskatoon earned his first-career WHL victory by making 27 saves to backstop the Kootenay Ice to a 2-1 triumph over the Swift Current Broncos Saturday night.
“It feels good to get that first one out of the way and hopefully there’s more to come,” Hobbs said after Saturday’s win. “It takes a load off my shoulders. I can feel better in the net now.”
En route to his first WHL win, Hobbs was called upon for a critical penalty-shot stop against Broncos forward Cavin Leth late in the second period.
“I couldn’t be happier for the guy to finally get that [win],” said Luke Pierce, head coach of the Kootenay Ice. “We haven’t given him a lot of run support so he knows how good he’s got to be.
“He’s just so calm and composed right now.
“He’s controlling his rebounds really well and tracking really well. Our guys have full confidence in him in the net, which is nice.”
Hobbs is in his first full season with the Ice after making two appearances during the 2014-15 campaign.
In 2015-16, the former Saskatoon Contact is 1-4-1-0 with a 3.44 GAA and .900 SP.
In 10 career WHL appearances, Hobbs is 1-4-2-0 with a 3.52 GAA and .896 SP.
The Ice selected Hobbs in the third round (53rd overall) of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
In addition to naming Hobbs as the league’s nominee for CHL Goaltender of the Week, the WHL named Tyson Baillie of the Kelowna Rockets as Player of the Week.
In three games, Baillie recorded three goals and seven points to help his Rockets go 3-0-0.
Hobbs is the first Kootenay Ice player to earn WHL weekly honours this season.