Haliburton County Huskies netminder Christian Linton has returned to peak fitness, and form, at the perfect time as the hometown team prepares for playoffs.
The 20-year-old has made only 11 appearances for the Dogs after suffering a high ankle sprain during the off-season. After being handed the start against the Mississauga Chargers March 18 Linton has impressed between the pipes over the past two weeks, leading his team to five wins and recording just a solitary loss. During that time, he has a 2.00 goals against average and .936 save percentage.
“It’s just nice to be back out on the ice again, getting some game time and helping the team,” Linton said. “It’s been a pretty frustrating season so far. Picking up that injury right before training camp obviously wasn’t ideal, then I aggravated it playing during the OJHL showcase (in October).”
Describing himself as 110 per cent fit, Linton hopes he can be a difference maker for the Huskies during the post-season. While competition in the crease is fierce in Haliburton, with former OHL star Christian Cicigoi proving to be a revelation since his arrival in October, Linton said he’s ready to seize any chance that comes his way.
Head coach Ryan Ramsay certainly has confidence in Linton’s ability. He believes the Huskies have the best goaltending tandem in the league.
“While nearly every other team has a definite starter and a backup, we have more of a 1a/1b situation … Christian Linton is a phenomenal goalie, and would have been our starter this year if he hadn’t gone down with an injury,” Ramsay said.
Growing up in Fergus, about 20 minutes north of Guelph, Linton said he’s used to living the rural lifestyle, so has adapted well since relocating to the Highlands. Even while injured he was able to spend time outdoors, marveling at all that Haliburton County has to offer.
He is billeting in Haliburton village with Tom and Diane Wilkinson.
Linton said he bet big on Haliburton when opting to move here in the summer. While he bought into the project Ramsay pitched and hoped the team would be competitive, he admitted they have exceeded all expectations this season.
“Seeing as this was basically a new franchise, I didn’t know that we were going to be this good this year. Most expansion teams take a couple of years to get their legs under them, but we’ve been solid all year round,” Linton said. “I think our team is as good as any in this league. It’s definitely the most complete team I’ve ever played on. I think we’ve got a real shot to go all the way.
“Playoffs are right around the corner, and that’s just a different beast. No team wants to give an inch and it’s very intense. I think we’re built for that type of game. We all just want to go out there and show what we can do,” he added.