-From The Star Phoenix
The Saskatoon Blades recalled Patrick Johnson from the SJHL's Melfort Mustangs Thursday, giving the team three goaltenders for their playoff run.
As the third-stringer and unofficial 26th man on the roster - WHL teams can only carry 25 players - Johnson's role will be restricted to practices.
"I've just got to stay game-ready," Johnson said after Thursday's morning skate, held before Game 1 of the WHL Eastern Conference quarter-final against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
"If needed, I'll be ready."
Johnson provides the team with a safety net if starting netminder Andrey Makarov or backup Alex Moodie sustain an injury.
With Melfort having been eliminated in the SJHL playoffs by Humboldt last Saturday, the six-foot, 178-pound goalie can now stay sharp with the Blades.
"That's the reason we brought him up," head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken said. "Going into the playoffs, you need to have three goalies.
"Obviously he had an opportunity to play with us at Christmastime and did very well."
Johnson was called up by the Blades in December when Makarov went to Russia to compete in the world junior championship.
He made three starts and four appearances, earning two wins - including his first in the WHL over the Tigers on New Year's Day.
The Saskatoon product posted a 2.73 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage for the Blades before being returned to Melfort.
"It was hard leaving, but it's good to be back," said Johnson, who turned 20 Tuesday.
Johnson was used sparingly in the SJHL playoffs. Melfort goalie Jesse Wilkins played the first round against Battlefords before Johnson saw some action against Humboldt.
Johnson made 17 saves on 18 shots in 45 minutes of work.
"I just rolled with it, did my time and, when I got in there, played pretty good I thought," he said.
This is the second year in a row Johnson has been summoned by the Blades from the SJHL for the playoffs.
Last year he served as the backup in the opening round against the Tigers when Adam Todd sustained a concussion late in the season