© Katie Brickman
Daniel Wapple, goaltender of the Medicine Hat Tigers makes a shoulder save on Colton McCarthy of the Moose Jaw Warriors during Western Hockey League action on Wednesday evening at Mosaic Place. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
It was just another regular season game for the Medicine Hat Tigers.
However, it held a lot more meaning for one player — goaltender Daniel Wapple.
The Moose Jaw Warriors traded the 18-year-old in mid-September for a fourth round bantam pick in 2015 and a conditional ninth round pick in 2016 to the Tigers. Wapple was originally a fourth round pick.
“I wanted this game pretty fricking bad,” said Wapple after the Tigers’ 4-1 victory over the Warriors. “There were a lot of emotions for the first five minutes, but then it calmed down after that.”
The Warriors did play in Medicine Hat last week, but Marek Langhamer was in between the pipes. However, Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston knew that Wapple wanted this start.
“He was excited about it and we knew that he was looking forward to it. I thought he played solid and steady,” stated Clouston. “I think it was a team effort and he was a big part of it. He made some key saves and got some help from his defencemen. He looked very confident and solid and did what he needed to do.”
Travis Brown was the only Warrior that could get past Wapple on Wednesday evening on his return to Mosaic Place.
Although it was a different feeling walking in Mosaic Place as part of the visiting team, Wapple got used to it as he prepared for the start.
“I just prepared the same way for every game,” he explained. “There were other things going through my head prior to this game, but I just prepared myself like I always do.”
Wapple and Warriors starter, Justin Paulic, battled for the starting job last season, but Wapple got injured and missed the last 20 games of the season. Paulic started all 26 final games for Moose Jaw.
“When we skated by each other one time, I smiled and he gave me a nod. It was good,” said Wapple.
Throughout last season and into training camp, Paulic was already destined to be the No. 1 starter. Rookie Zach Sawchenko pushed hard for the back-up role and that forced the Warriors to make a move — trading Wapple.
“It was their decision and I am not going to bad-talk them. They were good to me and they gave me an opportunity,” said Wapple reflecting on the trade. “It was nice to get away from everything and start over. I got a chance here and I have been pretty happy with the last couple of weeks.”
Wapple was pleased with the way he played against the Warriors and is happy to be getting a fresh start with the Tigers. He has a chance to battle with Langhamer for the starting role, as both have been splitting time thus far this season.
“A win is a win and it is two points for the team. I am sure the next one will be normal. This was does feel good,” he said. “It is over now. I think it will just be like every other game from now on, but the first one is pretty special."
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