Luke Lee-Knight was crushed when he was released by the Tri-City Americans just days before the season opener.
The veteran goalie, who has spent time with Prince Albert and Spokane last year, opened the season at the Americans’ training camp as a free agent, fighting for the backup job behind Eric Comrie with Brenden Fiebelkorn, 18.
In the end, Tri-City opted for Fiebelkorn, who was a year younger.
“There weren’t too many hard feelings,” Lee-Knight said of his dismissal in September. “Going back was hard at first, but I think it boosted my confidence. I got a call last Wednesday asking if I would come back. I was in a pretty good spot with my Junior A team and playing a lot. But this is a pretty special opportunity, and I jumped at it. I like the guys here a lot, and that motivated me to come back.”
Fiebelkorn, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, appeared in just two games before he left the team after last Saturday’s game against Kamloops, citing personal reasons.
Fiebelkorn won his only start — 9-1 against Vancouver on Nov. 4.
Lee-Knight had been playing with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The native of Calgary, Alberta, was 4-1 with the Broncos with a 2.56 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and two shutouts.
Lee-Knight got to Kennewick on Monday, while 15-year-old goalie Evan Sarthou arrived Sunday to help out at practice while Comrie is at the Subway Super Series with Team WHL.
“I’ve been enjoying it,” said Sarthou, who leaves today. “Just the opportunity to come up and practice with everyone was worth the trip. It’s a lot quicker here, and you have to be quicker to get in position to make saves. The shots are better and the compete level is pretty high.”
Sarthou, who plays for the L.A. Jr. Kings, missed one game with his team, but he said they were in good hands while he was gone.Like Fiebelkorn, Lee-Knight knows he will have to pay his dues to earn ice time.
“This is a business where nothing is promised,” Lee-Knight said. “You control your own destiny. Eric is a great goalie. He can go a lot of the work, but I want to be able to push him and get a lot of work myself. I want to help the team win a championship.”
Laurent Brossoit turned in a superb performance Wednesday as Team WHL blanked the touring Russian all-stars 1-0 in a shootout before a Subway Super Series record crowd of 11,124 at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Brossoit, chosen the WHL’s player of the game, stopped 30 shots in regulation and three more in the shootout. (There was no overtime period).
Russian goalie Andrei Makarov was as good as Brossoit and made 35 saves in regulation.
Makarov was mortal in the shootout, however, as Hunter Shinkaruk, Mark McNeill and Sam Reinhart, with the clincher, all put pucks through him.
The series, now 3-2 in favor of the Canadian major junior teams, concludes today in Victoria.
Red Deer: Brent Sutter, the owner and general manager of the Red Deer Rebels, fired coach Jesse Wallin on Tuesday and took over on an interim basis.
Sutter, the former coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames, was a successful junior coach before heading to the NHL. He coached the Rebels to the 2001 Memorial Cup title and led Canada to gold medals in the 2005 and 2006 world junior championships.
Sutter also announced that the rebels sent overage forward Charles Inglis home where he will await a trade. Inglis came to the Rebels in a trade with Prince George Cougars in December 2011.
Prince George: Added overage forward Ryan Hanes to their roster. Hanes joins the Cougars after playing parts of the past four seasons with the Kamloops Blazers. Because of a long-term injury to Cougars captain Brock Hirsche, a 20-year-old spot became available.