Barring a setback, injured Thunderwolves goalie Jeff Bosch will be between the pipes Thursday when Lakehead opens its OUA West best-of-three final in Windsor.
The third-year goalie suffered a left knee injury in Friday night’s semifinal-clinching 5-1 win over Ryerson, left the game and didn’t return.
It’s still a little sore, but isn’t considering pulling himself with a trip to nationals on the line.
“I practiced Monday and Tuesday and I felt pretty good,” Bosch said. “I was a little stiff and sore, but nothing that’s going to keep me out of the line-up this time of year.
“It was more of a precautionary thing to take me out of the game on Saturday night and I rested all weekend. The knee feels good to go.”
The Saskatchewan native has come a long way since last season, when he was entrenched on the LU bench behind unquestioned No. 1 starter Alex Dupuis.
Bosch saw little action in 2012-13, and could hardly be trusted to carry the load, sporting a 6.57 goals against average and a .783 save percentage.
But late on the recruiting trail, coach Bill McDonald had little choice but to stick with Bosch, bringing in Justin McDonald out of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in a back-up role.
Thrust into the spotlight, Bosch showed he was more than capable at the OUA level, posting a career-best 2.32 goals against average and a 7-6-1 record.
Still, Lakehead stumbled down the stretch, losing five straight at one point, giving no indication they were ready to roll into the OUA West final on a six-game winning streak.
Defensively, Bosch, the Wolves player of the month for February, deserves the lion’s share of the credit.
Over four post-season contests Bosch has allowed just five goals, including a 7-0 shutout over Ryerson to open their second-round series on the road.
He’s not sure where the success has come from.
“I haven’t really tried to change too much. I kind of made it a goal of mine at the start of the season that I wanted to be playing some big games by the end of it. So far that’s been working. And I don’t think it’s just myself, but the way our team’s been playing these last six games,” he said.
“Since the Waterloo series we’ve all elevated our game. We’re scoring more goals and our defence has been better and if they get through those lines of defence then I’m there to make the save when the guys need it.”
McDonald said he’s been monitoring Bosch in practice and said he feels he’s ready to go.
“He looks like the same old Jeff Bosch, so that’s probably good news,” McDonald said.
Bosch is the veteran presence, the coach added. It’s a case of been there, done that, if not at this level.
“He’s played a lot of games in the Western League. He’s been through this before and the way he’s played, it’s real good thing that he’s back in for us.”
Claw marks: The Wolves jumped back into the CIS top 10 rankings this week, taking the No. 8 spot. Alberta remains No. 1 ... After some initial confusion the Thunderwolves learned this week the OUA does own the wild-card berth at nationals. The loser of the Lakehead-Windsor series will take on the loser of the OUA East final in a one-game, winner-take-all bronze-medal game for the final berth at nationals.
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