KENNEWICK — Drew Owsley dropped to one knee, slid across the mouth of the goal and stopped the puck at the right post.
It was one of 25 saves the Tri-City Americans' starting goalie made Friday night against Vancouver in the first game of their best-of-7 first-round playoff series.
Owsley and backup goalie Chris Driedger had worked on that particular move just a couple of days before with former NHL goalie Olie Kolzig, who once played for the Americans and now is a co-owner of the team with Stu Barnes.
"He is a resource not a lot of other goalies in the league have," said Owsley, a native of Lethbridge, Alberta. "You just have to come in with an open mind and take what he gives you. He doesn't try to change my game, he gives me pointers."
Kolzig, who retired in 2009 after 14 years in the NHL, said he enjoys giving back to the game.
"I have been out for two years," said Kolzig, who also was a two-time Olympian for Germany. "The stuff you miss most is being around the guys, so for me this is my outlet -- being around the guys. They are a lot younger than what I was used to, but the atmosphere is the same -- it's a kid's game. These guys don't have a full-time goalie coach, and it's a good opportunity for me to work with them."
Americans coach Jim Hiller is grateful that Kolzig has taken the time to work with Owsley and Driedger.
"The great part is that Olie is here all year," Hiller said. "He's built a relationship with them, he's watched them play and he monitors their progress. He has had a big influence on Drew and Chris. He is really in tune to them, and he helps them play to what their strengths are. As a coach, it's really nice to have him come in. It's not a position that I played, and I can't relate to some of the issues they may have."
Kolzig worked with Owsley and Driedger twice last week leading up to Friday's game. They went through routine moves and scenarios, but Owsley said it's good to be reminded of the basics.
"Repetition is the best way to refresh it in your mind," said Owsley, who backed the Americans to two home wins heading into Game 3 at Vancouver on Tuesday. "Sometimes when you play, you lose the mechanical part of your game."
For Driedger, a wide-eyed rookie from Winnipeg, Manitoba, he has soaked in every word Kolzig has said.
"He will be the best goalie coach I'll probably ever have," Driedger said. "He's an All-Star goalie and he knows what he's talking about. I knew he owned the team, but I didn't know he was going to work with us -- it worked out perfectly."
Driedger used skills Kolzig taught him during nine consecutive starts when Owsley went down with a knee injury in February.
"Like every rookie that comes into this league, it's a huge step and it can be overwhelming," Driedger said. "He can bring you back to earth and help you focus on what you need to do."
As an owner, Kolzig said he takes a vested interest in how the team is doing, and he believes he can offer the goalies advice on issues Hiller and his staff may not understand.
"If there is something missing in their game, I can talk to them about it," Kolzig said. "I'm there for them to bounce things off. I will be honest with them -- you don't want them to repeat bad habits."
This is the second year Owsley has benefited from Kolzig's knowledge, and the former Vezina Trophy winner said he was surprised how Owsley went from a seldom-used backup to one of the top goalies in the WHL in one season.
"I was skeptical at the start of last year," Kolzig admitted. "The way he held his glove was a big concern -- now you can't get anything past it. His strength is his confidence. You don't see him play bad back-to-back games.
"Chris has raw talent, he just needs to polish it a bit. It's nice to see them apply what you teach them."
Not only has Kolzig been a mentor, but he also has given the goalies a bit of ice cred with their friends.
"I went home at Christmas and I was telling my friends that Olie was my goalie coach," Driedger said. "A little bragging goes on, but it's cool, for sure."