Any success the Okanagan Prep Red team has in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League playoffs sit on the shoulders of Shane Farkas.
That was evident in his team’s opening game on Thursday against Okanagan Hockey Academy Prep White, who they defeated 4-3 in the 12th round of a shootout. Prep Red needed Farkas to make a few key saves, to say the least, to give them a chance to win. Farkas said going into this one, he was determined to just make sure he could go out on a win, for himself and his team.
“They deserved it,” said Farkas, who finished with 26 saves and 11 in the shootout. “I thought I was just OK. A couple of times bounces didn’t really go my way. The guys really rallied with me there. A couple of times they took away, what I felt, would be sure goals. I owe a lot to them.”
Since November Farkas has been coach Robert Dirk’s best player, his most valuable player, he said.
“He just changed his outlook on some certain things and his whole game turned around,” said Dirk. “The way he has conducted himself has changed for the better.”
Dirk said last season Farkas put a lot of pressure on himself and was really intense. This season he is learning to be more easy going, low key. That has helped him as a person and as a player. Farkas went 14-7-2 and put up three shutouts. He had a .922 save percentage to go with a 2.56 goals against average.
“He’s just so much more relaxed in the net,” said Dirk. “He plays with such confidence now.”
Farkas, who is committed to play for the West Kelowna Warriors in the BCHL next season, is very good technically and has quick reflexes and anticipates the play extremely well. He also handles the puck exceptionally well.
“He can handle it like a third defenceman back there when teams dump the puck,” said Dirk.
Also working in his favour is his size (six-foot-one, 149 pounds) and athleticism. Dirk said what Farkas needs to work on is being mentally and physically stronger.
Dirk described Farkas as the team clown.
“He’s not afraid to laugh at himself, which is important for everybody,” said Dirk. “He’s very light hearted and he’s just a fine individual.”
With the backup goalie injured, Farkas will play in all the CSSHL playoff games. Farkas and Okanagan Prep Red is next in action Friday at 1:15 p.m. in the OHS Training Centre and Saturday at 1:15 p.m. against Delta, also in the OHS Training Centre.