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Warm takes over starter's net

Local goaltender thriving for Tri-City Americans

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In his first year as the Tri-City Americans' unquestioned No. 1 goalie, Whistler's Beck Warm is showing he's happy for the additional ice time.

Through 13 games, the 19-year-old currently has a 9-4-0 record to go with a .913 save percentage and 2.75 goals against average, both of which are sixth-best among the Western Hockey League's go-to goalies.

In 2017-18, Warm got a taste of a heavier workload, playing in 35 games while backing up Patrick Dea.

"It's been good. I've played with a lot of goalies since I've been here that have showed me the ropes and showed me how to take care of my body and how to handle the workload," he said. "It's been easy; it's been good."

Starting with more regularity has only benefitted Warm, as he's allowing on average one fewer goal per game and increased his save percentage from .889 last year.

"Playing consecutive games, and playing 12 of the first 13 games here, really helps me get into a rhythm and stringing wins together," said Warm on Nov. 1, a day before backstopping Tri-City to a 4-2 win over Everett for his sixth win in a row. "It really helps the confidence."

With Dea aging out of the league, Warm was the heir apparent and returned to the Americans' home of Kennewick, Wash. prepared to assume the position.

"I was working on getting stronger and making sure my body was healthy. There's a lot of preparation to do before the season starts, making sure you're healthy and that you can play a full schedule," he said. "You're the same, but just a year older. You have that much more experience and that's really all it takes, just experience and confidence."

Warm's highlight of the season to this point came in late October when Tri-City went north and defeated the Prince George Cougars (which feature fellow Whistlerite Jackson Leppard) on consecutive nights.

"The first game, I played really well (stopping 35 of 36 shots) and the team played really well and that's the moment we knew we could do something special here this year," he said.

The Americans, who went on a run to the Western Conference Final last year after upsetting higher seeds in Kelowna and Victoria, are making noise so far in the 2018-19 regular season. At 10-4-0, they're just two points behind U.S. Division-leading Everett despite having played three fewer games.

With a new coaching staff led by head coach and former Edmonton Oiler Kelly Buchberger, Warm said there are some new systems at play in the Americans' game, with the two-time Stanley Cup winner getting the most of a young squad that is without five of its top seven scorers from last year.

"It's been a good learning experience for everybody, but things are looking good," he said. "Expectations aren't too high coming into the year, but by the end of the year, you want to be winning games and win a championship. It's about showing the young guys the ropes and being a good leader."

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