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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Goalie seizing opportunity created by injury

When goalkeeper David Herman went down with a concussion in early January, the No. 21 Arizona hockey team needed someone to fill his place. The Wildcats found their man in sophomore Steven Sisler.

“I feel like Sisler answered the bell fantastically,” defender Shane Gleason said. “We all feel bad we haven’t gotten him some more wins in the past couple weeks. He definitely gives us a chance to win, and that’s all you can ask from a goalie.”

Sisler has done more than enough in Herman’s place — earning himself the majority of game time even though Herman has returned from injury.

Herman has been cleared to play since mid-January, but his slow return back to his pre-injury form has given Sisler the opportunity to take over the starting spot.

“Sisler has simply been phenomenal this season,” Herman said. “He’s been a rock in net and everything we needed him to be and more.”

When Herman suffered a concussion last season, Sisler filled in as a freshman, gaining valuable experience. With his time this season, he’s expanded on his good play and made enough of a statement to be the regular starter in any situation.

“I’ve been doing what I can to give my team a chance to win the games,” Sisler said.

The team has been unable to translate the strong goaltending into victories though, going just 3-8 since Herman’s injury. However, all but two of the losses have been by only a single goal.

In the Wildcats’ lone blowout defeat, a 10-3 loss to No. 4 ASU, Sisler gave up three goals in the first period and was pulled for Herman to play in the second.

But the Sun Devils showed that Sisler wasn’t the main issue for the Wildcats, as Herman gave up five more in the second period and Sisler returned to finish the game.

“It’s a whole team effort, and we’ve all been struggling as a team,” assistant captain Geordy Weed said. “Sisler has definitely done a great job keeping us in the game these past games.”

Last weekend against No. 8 Minot State, Sisler gave up only two goals in four periods of play. He was in net for the 3-1 loss on Saturday, but the final goal was on an empty net. He also came in for relief in the third period Friday with the team down 6-2, and shut down the Beavers in the final period. His effort wasn’t enough though, and the Wildcats fell 6-5.

Head coach Sean Hogan said he was impressed with how his sophomore goalkeeper played this past weekend, despite the one soft goal he gave up at the end of the second period Saturday.

With only four games left in the season and the Wildcats in the midst of a lengthy losing streak, solid play in net is a good first step toward turning things around. And thanks to the crucial experience that Sisler has gotten lately, he has been able to bring his game in net up to another level, Weed said.

“(Sisler) has been given that time this year, and you can definitely see it in his play,” Weed said. “He’s been paying awesome, standing on his head for us in games.”

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