As the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs heat up, the Kelowna Chiefs will come to rely on all roster players heading into the post-season.
Kelowna’s back-up goalie Michael Toole has being quietly having a solid season serving as the Chiefs second string netminder. In 14 games played, Toole has 10 wins, one shut-out and a .898 save percentage average helping the Chiefs remain atop the division and one of the top five teams in the league.
“(The league) is a lot better than I thought it was going to be,” said Toole in reflection of his first year in the KIJHL. “The league has gotten way better. I’ve had friends who played four or five years ago and it’s completely different.”
Playing behind the strong Chiefs skaters has made Toole’s job easy, but it’s been playing along side Chiefs veteran goalie Braeden Mitchell that has really helped the Calgary-born player come into his own as a goalie in the league.
Toole said improving his skills from watching Mitchell has made things smooth.
“There is so much to learn there. I can’t really put words onto how great it has been having (Mitchell) here.”
With less than a month remaining in the season, Toole and the Chiefs will look to peak at the opportune moment with the playoffs set to start at the end of February.
The Chiefs next play the Princeton Posse on Jan. 25.
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