Goalie Beck Warm is getting his shot at being the main man in the Tri-City Americans' crease.
The 18-year-old has played in nearly half of the Americans' 17 games, posting a 5-2-0 record with a 3.54 goals against average and 0.893 save percentage. With two more appearances, he'll match last season's high watermark of 10 as he splits time with Patrick Dea, who was a teammate of Warm's twin brother Will with the Edmonton Oil Kings last season.
Though as the 20-year-old veteran, Dea might have the inside edge, the two netminders have split time while giving one another some healthy competition.
"He pushes me and I push him, so it's all about getting better and helping the team win," Warm said.
The Americans are off to a hot start in the 2017-18 campaign, sitting just behind the Portland Winterhawks in the U.S. Division standings while they've already put themselves nine points above the Western Hockey League's Western Conference playoff line.
Warm credited his early success to a calm demeanour as he strives to stay in the moment and not stray far from what is right in front of him.
"I'm taking it one puck at a time, not really worrying about my numbers or anything like that, just 'Next shot, next shot,'" he said. "It's been going well and the team's been winning."
To this point in the season, Warm said his best game came against the Kelowna Rockets, another WHL heavy hitter, as he made 33 saves in a 2-1 win on Oct. 17.
"That was a good team effort and I played well, in my opinion. It was a really good game," he said. "We've been playing a lot of good teams. We've had a bit of a tough schedule to start off the season. We've done well."
With roster turnover a fact of life in the WHL, Warm explained the Americans' seven rookies — three of whom play defence and need to communicate well with the goaltender — have settled in well so far.
"It's always tough for new guys coming into the league because it's such a different level of hockey than they've been used to. It's good to help guys settle in and help them feel comfortable on the ice," he said. "A big part of that is communication on the ice and helping them out when they need it."
This summer, Warm was a last-minute invitee to Vancouver Canucks development camp to fill in for another goalie who was unable to attend. He said he received a boost from the opportunity, facing a number of high-profile prospects over the course of a week and receiving major-league instruction.
"It helped me out with confidence going into the season, knowing I can play at this level," he said. "And they helped me a lot with (handling) traffic. Being a bit of a smaller guy (5-11), it's kind of tough when there are guys that are 6-4 standing in front of you."
Warm feels the Americans are a championship-calibre team, but the team needs to stay healthy and maintain consistency in order to achieve those goals.
Warm noted he's particularly excited to face off with his brother when the squads meet on Dec. 15 in Edmonton.
"It should be really good. It's always a game to look forward to," he said.