Replacing a two-time national goaltender of the year would be a daunting task for most teams. This doesn’t appear to be the case for the Saskatchewan Huskies.
When Jordon Cooke left to play in France this past off-season, the Dogs chose Taran Kozun as the new starter and he hasn’t looked back.
“It’s what every goalie wants to do. Being able to do that here is a big honour, and as long as I play well, I’m happy,” Kozun said.
The U Sports men’s hockey team (11-1) is in first place in Canada West. They are undefeated in their last 10 games, the team’s longest regular season win streak since the 2005-06 season.
The backbone of the Huskies’ success has been the second-year goaltender, who has posted some of the best numbers in Canada West during his first season as a starter.
The Nipawin native leads the Canada West in wins, and shutouts while posting a 1.85 goals against average and a 0.915 save percentage.
“(Kozun’s) unreal. The way he plays the puck helps our breakouts, just every aspect,” Huskies forward Wyatt Johnson said.
“He’s a really good leader in the (locker) room and he comes up with numerous big saves a game that save us on numerous occasions. He’s great to have back there.”
“We’ve got a good mindset in the room right now where if you come ready to play every night, we’ve got a good chance to win,” Kozun said.
“The guys have really bought into our team system and are playing for one another, showing up every night for everybody.”
Kozun hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere, he is a former Western Hockey League (WHL) goalie of the year, but it’s been more than three years since he last played a No. 1 role and that patience is paying off.
“When you have to sit and watch more than you play it’s not quite as fun,” Kozun said.
“But getting back into the flow of things it’s kind of nice to get your weekly routine down and to be able to build off it each week and day-by-day. You know that you’re going to have a game on the weekend, so it’s easy to prepare.”
The Manitoba Bisons (2-9-1) come to Saskatoon this weekend, having lost nine consecutive games.
With their goaltender in a groove, the Huskies have a solid chance of extending their win streak even further at Merlis Belsher Place on Friday and Saturday.