TORONTO- The recent opportunity to play for the Toronto Marlies is something Leafs prospect Mark Owuya felt ready for.
“You always prepare to play,” said Owuya. “And, if you’re always prepared to play, you won’t be surprised to play.”
With Ben Scrivens currently absent from the Toronto Marlies, Owuya has moved up from the East Coast Hockey League’s Reading Royals to take his place.
And like Scrivens, the original plan of just being a back-up with his new team has gone out the window with each start he’s been given.
The native of Sweden will start for the fourth time in five games on Friday when they Marlies face the Rochester Americans; already exceeding any expectations with regards to his call-up.
“Three straight games is the most amount of straight games I’ve played so far this season, so I like this” said Owuya about the sudden playing time.
In Reading, the former rapper had only played in three games all season, splitting starts along the way.
In just over a week with the Marlies, including a period he played in relief of Jussi Rynnas on November 5th, Owuya has gone 1-1-1 with a 1.52 GAA and .939 SV%. Impressive numbers for a guy thought to not see any game time during Scrivens absence.
“I just try to focus on playing,” he said about why he’s had early success with the Marlies. “I try to work as much as I can and every puck I can save is a chance to get better.”
With Rynnas having won only one of his last six starts, Owuya is taking full advantage of the situation as he’s out played Rynnas since taking over for him in a 6-1 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.
While it’s too early to tell Owuya’s future, you can already see he’s improved since rookie camp in early September. He looks more relaxed in the net and is calmer on his feet. At practice, he’s been the last one off the ice all week as he’s spent a large amount of time working on puck control and pushing side to side.
What seemed like a short-term fill in as a back-up, Owuya will continue to get playing time as long as he’s playing the way he has the last 12 days.
And that’s something he’s welcome too.
“I just try to work at everything I get an opportunity to work at. I’m happy to be playing.”