Being a back-up goaltender isn't as easy as it might look.
You work just as hard as the starter in practice, but when gameday comes, more often than not, you're on the bench needing to be ready at a moment's notice.
In his first full season of Western Hockey League action, Whistler's Beck Warm appeared in 35 regular-season games for the Tri-City Americans, posting a 16-11-1 record to go along with a 3.58 goals against average and .889 save percentage. Though he didn't make any starts in Tri-City's run to the Western Conference Final, he made a pair of relief appearances, picking up a win and putting up a 1.80 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
Tri-City swept its way through the first two rounds, dispatching higher-ranked opponents in Kelowna and Victoria without a single loss. But they ran into the Everett Silvertips juggernaut, falling in six hard-fought games.
Still, being a wild-card team that came within two wins of the championship series, Warm knows the Americans don't have much to hang their heads about.
"Our team really came together by the end of the season," he said. "We were a pretty confident group going in and once we won those first couple games there against Kelowna, we knew that we could be something special. We just kept that confidence going and it worked out for us."
Warm's first appearance in the playoffs came in the second game of the playoffs, a 9-7 win on the road over Kelowna. Tri-City had rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to lead 4-3, but found itself trailing 6-5 late in the second period in the seesaw battle. Warm calmed the crease and the Americans exploded for four goals in the third period to head home to Kennewick, Wash. in control of the series.
"I had an unfortunate injury toward the end of the season and only came back a couple games before playoffs, so I didn't play in very many playoff games," he said. "I was ready to go in at any point and once I got the call to go in there, I had to get the nerves out and after a couple minutes, you just play your game."
Warm said he was happy with his 2017-18 season on a personal level, but with incumbent starter Patrick Dea graduating, Warm finds himself with a leg up on the competition as he seeks the role full time next season. He explained that he learned plenty this year as he looks to lock down the spot.
"I'll have to earn my spot, definitely, but how it's looking is I'll try to be the guy there next year. We're going to have a strong team again, so it should be a really good year," he said. "It's all about consistency. It's all about playing the same way every night. Like any goalie, when you're playing your game, you can be the best goalie in the league, but if you don't do that every night, it's not great."
Warm said in particular, he made strides with his nutrition and sleep patterns to help him be as sharp as possible each time out.
After returning to Whistler a few days ago, Warm plans to enjoy some family time before hitting the gym hard starting next week.
After attending the Vancouver Canucks development camp last summer, Warm hopes to find himself taking part in another one this summer, though invites aren't generally given out until after the entry draft in June.