Belfast Giants' Shane Owen returns to winning ways after losing his shirt
It's not often that the Belfast Giants' No. 35 gets a run-out in an Elite League game, let alone at the intimidating road venue that is the Viola Arena in Cardiff, yet that is exactly what happened on Sunday.
However, it wasn't Andrew Dickson - the number's usual occupant - wearing the jersey, rather it was regular starting netminder Shane Owen, who was forced to borrow his team-mate's shirt when his own went missing from the locker room.
Of course, such circumstances were not passed up by the large travelling support located in Block 12 at the Viola Arena, who gleefully took the oppportunity to have some fun at the winning goalie's expense.
"I was laughing at some of the 'Dicko' chants they were giving me in the stands, that was good!" grinned Owen.
While he may have been in an unfamiliar jersey, on the ice the temporary No.35 was right at home, making a staggering 41 saves in Sunday's win over the Cardiff Devils to complete a four-point weekend for Belfast.
It was a big performance for the netminder himself, too, who shook off a particularly rough stretch of games to record his first win since November 3, improving to 9-8-2 on the domestic season as a whole.
Having gone through a skid of four straight losses, it saw head coach Adam Keefe turn to back-up Stephen Murphy for Saturday's first game of the doubleheader - with the Scot leading them to a 4-3 win in overtime - but with Owen restored between the pipes on Sunday, he wasn't going to let his opportunity to return to form pass him by.
"I took not playing on Saturday as a mental break and came back hungry to play," said the 29-year-old, who has a .918 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average in the Elite League this season. "I felt good. I knew after losing those last couple of games I needed to bounce back. I played my game and the team played well in front of me."
Having snapped their four-game winless streak by taking both games against the Devils and moving into third in the standings, the Giants now face a massive clash with league leaders the Sheffield Steelers at the FlyDSA Arena tomorrow night.
But Owen believes the team are in confident mood.
"That's going to be a huge confidence booster," admits Owen. "It's what we came here to do, get the four points. Now we have to go to Sheffield and try and get the two."
Winger Curtis Hamilton was the scratched import for Sunday's win due to injury, however it is hoped that he will be fit enough to be available for selection for tomorrow's game.