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Youth Tier I 18U Notebook: Goalie Rotation Has Ups and Downs for Team Wisconsin

By Greg Bates - Special to, 04/07/14, 8:30AM MDT


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Team Wisconsin used a goalie rotation most of the season.

The setup can have its advantages and disadvantages.

“If you’re in a zone, [sitting out] could ruin that,” Wisconsin 18-and-Under goalie Nathan Siclovan said, “but sometimes it’s nice to take a break, watch and learn from the game and go back in the next game.”

Siclovan experienced both sides of the coin last week at the Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I Youth National Championships. He pitched back-to-back shutouts to open the tournament, stopping all 46 shots that came his way. However, after a game off he gave up three goals to Culver Academy in a 4-3 victory in the national quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.

It’s tough for a goalie to get in a rhythm after a game off.

“The last two games were good, but today was a little bit rough,” said Siclovan, who wasn’t in goal when Wisconsin lost its national semifinal game 2-1 to Victory Honda. “I’ve been seeing the puck well and stopping it and our team has been playing good in front of me.”

Siclovan finished the tournament by saving 68 of 71 shots, and his 95.8 save percentage was the best for goalies at 18U who played in more than one game.

“It must be something with his hair, he keeps growing it out,” Wisconsin defenseman Luke Davison joked. “He’s been really focused.”

Wisconsin’s defense played well in front of its goalies all week.

“We just try and keep the shots to the outside, keep the house clear,” said defenseman Matt Berkovitz, who has committed to play at the University of Wisconsin. “Rushes, keep them to the outside and clear shots out from the point.”

Scoring Machine

Gordon Green shines when he’s playing on the biggest stage.

The Victory Honda forward had a career night Friday with a six-point effort — three goals and three assists — to help his team beat Central (CT) Capitals/Selects Academy 7-3 and advance at nationals.

“That was amazing,” Green said. “It was a must win for us since we lost our second game, but I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates. I got two great passes on my goals and I made some passes behind [my teammates] and they scored, so without my teammates it definitely would not have been six points.”

Green was just as big 23 hours later when his team downed the Jr. Flyers (Philadelphia) 7-6 in overtime. He scored twice: the first goal of the game and the game winner.

“We just had to get pucks to the net,” Green said about the game-winning goal. “Zach Zech won the draw, kicked it to Nathan Bryer and I kind of lifted his stick a little because he was tied in a battle, and I made a quick shot to the net and it went five hole.”

Those two games were the main reason Green — who is a draft pick of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League — finished the tournament with the most points (11 on six goals and five assists) at 18U.

“He’s done a really good job of improving over the course of the year and keeping grinding,” Victory Honda coach Brian Burke said. “Honestly, I think you’re seeing the culmination of a lot of work on his behalf.”

Chip Off the Old Block

Martin Brodeur is one of the best goaltenders in National Hockey League history. His son Jeremy is a junior at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and a solid goalie in his own right. Jeremy was 3-0 at nationals and saved 87 of 92 shots he faced. He earned one shutout but didn’t play in the national title game since it was teammate Lukas Tania’s turn in the rotation.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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