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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona hockey goalie cleared for action after second concussion

Michelle+A.+Monroe+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat+%0A%0AUniversity+of+Arizona+Police+Department+officials+gave+awards+to+UA+employees+and+one+student+who+helped+them+solve+crimes+or+arrest+people.
Michelle A. Monroe
Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona Police Department officials gave awards to UA employees and one student who helped them solve crimes or arrest people.

The last week and a half is one that Arizona hockey goalkeeper David Herman might want to forget.

Herman missed last weekend’s series with San Diego State after showing concussion-like symptoms following a shot to the mask in practice last Wednesday, and he’s questionable for tonight’s matchup with Michigan State at 7:30 p.m. in the Tucson Convention Center.

Of course, all of this is happening while the Wildcats are battling for their first postseason berth since 2004.

“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Herman said. “I couldn’t even sit and watch the games (last weekend), I was down in the locker room area. You just want to be out there with your teammates.”

Herman said he’s been symptom-free for the last few days and was cleared to return to practice Thursday.

But to complicate things, this isn’t the 5-foot-8 junior’s first time dealing with a head injury. He missed extended time last season after suffering a concussion at ASU last January when a Sun Devil kneed him in the head during a collision. Then he was hit by a slapshot between the eyes and suffered a mild concussion in his first game back.

Even though his health is the No. 1 concern, Herman said he hates watching his teammates battle on the ice for a playoff spot while he sits idly by.

But while Herman feels ready to get back on the ice, the coaching staff isn’t so sure. It’s hard for any player to be able to contribute in a game after missing extended action, let alone one that’s the last line of defense against pucks that can travel more than 90 mph.

Associate head coach Dave Dougall said that while Herman has played well in key games, they need him to face live shots before they play him over sophomore Steven Sisler or freshman Bob Schultz.

But even if Herman isn’t able to play, the goalkeeper cupboard isn’t bare. Sisler has been effective in his opportunities this season, including a 5-1 victory against San Diego State last Friday and a shootout victory over No. 7 Iowa State in October.

“Sisler played well (last weekend),” Dougall said. “Shultz stumbled a little bit in the first period, but then he played well as the game went on, so he got his confidence. We’re confident in what we have in the goaltending aspect.”

A loss against the ACHA Division II Spartans wouldn’t deliver a knockout blow to the Wildcats’ postseason hopes, but they can’t afford to give away games with the daunting schedule that lies ahead of them.

“We’re right at the bubble right now,” Herman said. “We can’t overlook any opponent or take any games lightly … It doesn’t matter if they are D-II or D-I. We’re going to come out and get ourselves hopefully in position to have a national tournament bid.”

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