TORONTO-When the Reading Royals bowed out of the ECHL playoffs, it didn’t mean the season was over for goaltender Mark Owuya.
The 22-year-old joined the Toronto Marlies for their AHL playoff run and has played the part of a number-three keeper behind Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas.
He has accompanied the Marlies on every road trip, taken part in every team practice, and watches each game from the press box.
Being the third-string goaltender isn’t the ideal situation, but Owuya is still finding incentives throughout the Marlies run to the Calder Cup finals.
“You get to practice,” said Owuya. “How can you not be motivated when you get time on the ice? I’d rather do that then have off season.”
Owuya started the year with the Royals, but also had numerous call-ups from the Marlies for various reasons.
In Reading he went 16-5-3 with two shutouts, 2.63 goals against average and a league best .930 save percentage. He averaged a massive 37 shots against in every start and helped the club sneak into the playoffs after a 55-save shutout in his final start of the regular season.
“It was great because I got to play a lot of games,” said Owuya about his time playing for the Royals. “I’m not gonna lie, the quality up here (AHL) is way better but, there I could play and it helped me grow mentally. That was the biggest development while I was there.”
As the eighth-seeded team in the Eastern Conference the Royals took the top-seeded Elmira Jackals to a deciding Game 5 but were eliminated.
Owuya wasn’t happy about bowing out in the playoffs, especially in the opening round.
“You always want to win. You always want to play more,” he said. “We’re winning here right now but I wanted to win in the East Coast (league). Anytime you’re out of the playoffs it annoys you. You wanna win and that’s why you play.”