Cincinnati Cyclones rookie netminder Sam Brittain was recalled to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday to serve as backup for Dan Ellis, also recently recalled from the AHL Charlotte Checkers. This is Brittain’s second trip to the NHL this season.
The injury bug struck the Panthers in a huge way during their Tuesday night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo suffered an injury to his shoulder in the first period and his backup, Al Montoya, left the game in the third with a groin injury. Luongo successfully lobbied head coach Garrard Gallant to let him back in the game, given that the only other alternative was to send in goaltending coach Rob Tallas.
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With Luongo day-to-day and Montoya out for 2 to 4 weeks, Ellis will likely start the next two games (Thursday against Dallas and Saturday against the Islanders) with Brittain suited up just in case.
Brittain is in his rookie season with the Cyclones where he’s posted a 14-11-0-1 record with a 2.71 goals-against-average, placing him fourth among ECHL rookie goaltenders. The Calgary native was taken by the Panthers in the fourth round (#92 overall) of the 2010 draft and spent the next four years at the University of Denver compiling a 51-34-11 record with a 2.45 GAA.
Called up to the Panthers on January 5th of this year, Brittain returned to the Cyclones four days later not having dressed for a game. This trip will likely be a touch longer, and Brittain will only be a turned ankle away from making his NHL debut.
The Cyclones are in the midst of a Sunshine State road trip (making Brittain’s commute to the Panthers rather convenient) and take on the Orlando Solar Bears tonight, with a rematch on Monday before returning to Cincinnati. Rob Madore will get the start in goal tonight, with goalie Kris Kavanagh signed on Wednesday as an emergency backup.