March 19, 2014 5:05 pm

Bartosak Manchester-bound?

Patrik Bartosak’s major junior career ended Tuesday night when his Red Deer Rebels were unable to hold a 3-2 third period lead and fell 5-3 to the Prince Albert Raiders in a winner-take-all play-in game to decide which team would advance as an eight seed and open up a best-of-seven playoff series against the Edmonton Oil Kings. Bartosak, who stopped 42-of-46 shots in the loss, finished the season as the WHL’s saves leader while accounting for the most saves in one season (2,129) and the most cumulative saves 4,546 in Rebels history.

In 145 games over three seasons, the Kings’ fifth round draft pick in 2013 was 80-50-6-5 with a 2.59 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and 14 shutouts with Red Deer. He was named the 2013 CHL Goaltender of the Year.

No decision has been made yet on which team within the Kings’ system Bartosak will join, but one possibility is that he would report directly to Manchester, which would mean Matthias Niederberger, who is 1-1-1 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .887 save percentage in 267 AHL minutes, would rejoin the Ontario Reign for the team’s playoff drive.

Manchester (40-17-2-6) leads the American Hockey League with 88 points, while Ontario (39-17-2-3) is tied with Alaska atop the ECHL standings with 83 points. It may be difficult to commute to New Hampshire for a playoff series, but if you’re interested in watching Gasper Kopitar, Maxim Kitsyn and Derek Couture compete for the Kelly Cup crown, playoff tickets can be purchased here.

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