2008-09: Sam Brittain led the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA team to an AMHL championship and a second-place finish behind Notre Dame Hounds in the Telus Cup. In seven games, including a 38-save shutout in the semifinal game, Brittain finished 3-2-2 with a 3.00 GAA and .916 save percentage. He appeared in 3 games for the Canmore Eagles (AJHL), going 1-2-0 with a 3.02 GAA and .894 save percentage.
2009-10: Brittain played for the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL. In 52 games, he was 23-19-8 with a 3.27 GAA and .896 save percentage. In nine playoff games, Brittain went 5-4 with a 3.01 GAA and .913 save percentage. He committed to playing college hockey at the University of Denver.
2010-11: Brittain started 33 of 42 games as a freshman at the University of Denver. The Pioneers finished second in the WCHA and Brittain was 19-9-5 with one shutout. He had a 2.28 GAA and .921 save percentage and was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team.
2011-12: Brittain returned to the University of Denver lineup at the end of January after rehabbing from off-season knee surgery. He appeared in 12 games for the Pioneers as a sophomore, handling the bulk of the goaltending during the stretch run. He finished the year 8-4 with 1 shutout and had a 2.36 goals against and .932 save percentage. Denver finished third in the WCHA and reached the Broadmoor Trophy championship game. Brittain recorded 67 saves in the Pioneers’ 4-3, double overtime victory over Minnesota-Duluth in the WCHA playoff semifinals and was in net for the NCAA Midwest regional contest against Ferris State (a 2-1 loss).
2012-13: Brittain had a season of fits and starts in his junior year at Denver. After wins in four of his first five starts, Brittain did not record another win for almost four months as sophomore Juho Olkinuora (Winnipeg) emerged as the Pioneers’ starter. Brittain finished the year 5-7 with a 2.95 goals against and .907 save percentage. Denver finished third in the WCHA and reached the WCHA Broadmoor Trophy championship game; receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and falling to Ferris State, 2-1, in a Midwest Regional semifinal game.
Brittain is the prototypical modern NHL goaltender with good size and a traditional butterfly style. He covers the net well and is adept at controlling rebounds. He is comfortable and calm in his crease and relies on sound positioning and fluid movements instead of the twisting, acrobatic saves that can be seen in others. He has a quick, technically solid glove hand, and moves smoothly from post to post. Injuries and inconsistent play have hampered his development, but the core attributes are all in place.
Brittain will return to Denver for his senior year with the Pioneers, but he will have to battle newcomer and fellow Panthers prospect Evan Cowley to regain his role as the team’s starting goaltender. Brittain’s struggles last year clouded his professional future, but he still projects as a good minor league goaltender at worst, or an average NHL backup if he can stabilize his play in the nets.