Trip To AHL Helps Nie Sharpen Game

By Mike Mastovich
The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Ryan Nie might not have seen much game action during his two-week stay with the Providence Bruins, but the Johnstown Chiefs goaltender believes his AHL time will benefit him in the ECHL.

“Just being in the practice with those guys, they’re better shooters and it’s a faster pace, anytime you skate with people like that it helps you out,” said Nie, who returned to Johnstown on Thursday and is expected to back up Andrew Penner in Friday’s game against visiting Cincinnati.

“I just learned some of the smaller things, technical stuff, I have to change in my game in order to play at the next level,” he said. “You can get away with some things in the ECHL that you can’t get away with up there. A couple of the smarter shooters up in the American League started taking advantage of those things.”

Nie played 43 minutes, 20 seconds in relief of Mike Brown, another goaltender who began the season in Johnstown. Nie stopped 10 of 12 shots he faced in the Bruins’ loss to Manchester on Sunday.

“Once we got down 3-0 the boys picked it up and we started to play in their end a lot,” said Nie, who entered the game after Manchester’s third goal. “They scored on a shorthanded breakaway and a 3-on-2 against me.

“Overall it was a great experience to get up there and see what the league is like. I went to Binghamton’s camp but the regular season is a different story.”

Nie won five games for the Chiefs prior to his call up. Since then, goalie Penner has been strong, going 3-1-0-1 in five games as the Chiefs improved to 8-5-0-1.

“Penner will play Friday,” Chiefs coach Ian Herbers said. “Penner’s been playing well and that’s who we’ve been going with. That and all the traveling for Ryan (will result in a night off for Nie). We have two good goalies and the team is confident in both goalies.”