Senior goalie brings confidence to Colts
The goalie position in hockey is one of the most stressful positions a player can play. Much like a quarterback in football or a pitcher in baseball, the fate of a game can be decided with a key save or lost with a delayed response.
There isn't much to worry about with the goalie for Chartiers Valley — he is as cool as ice. Senior Noah Stevenson has been a presence for the Chartiers Valley hockey throughout his high school career.
“It can get a little tough sometimes,” Stevenson said. “But that is one of the best things about it. You can be the guy who makes or breaks a game.”
Stevenson had helped the Colts reach a 3-1 mark as he has recorded 114 saves for an 88.1 save percentage. His strong play has first-year coach Sean Biancaniello singing his praises.
“The confidence factor he brings to the team is fantastic,” Biancaniello said. “He has a short-term memory which a goalie needs to have success. And the experience he has is a major asset.”
Biancaniello came into his first season wanting to boost the defensive play. Having Stevenson in the net has helped that become a reality.
“The goalie can see the ice better than everyone else,” Biancaniello said. “He is in constant communication with the defense. His is the third set of eyes for the defense. He can see what the other team is doing and how they adjust to what we are doing. He communicates to the defenders really well.”
Stevenson first got playing time with the Colts during his freshman season, when he shared goaltender duties with Martin Gudewicz.
It was a sign of things to come as Stevenson finished with an 84.9 save percentage — slightly better than the 84.7 of Gudewicz, a senior.
“I got a lot of experience playing every other game,” Stevenson said. “It helped me a lot playing that first year. I got to play in the game we won against Bishop Canevin, which was pretty big for us.”
Stevenson moved into the No. 1 role as a sophomore and had a strong campaign. He finished with a 16-4 mark while recording 473 saves for a 89.9 save percentage and a 2.7 goals-against average.
He saw a statistical drop during his junior campaign. Stevenson finished with 320 saves for a 79 save percentage and a 5.3 goals-against average.
“Last year was a down year,” Stevenson said. “I played AAA (travel) hockey my sophomore year and AA last year. I think that hurt me little. But I got back into the grove a little bit towards the end of the season. I am ready to bounce back.”
A return to form is a top priority, but Biancaniello is confident Stevenson will finish the year as a top goalie in the PIHL.
“We are looking for him to have another all-star season if not an MVP-type of year,” Biancaniello said. “He is going to be the anchor for us. If we want to beat good teams like Bishop Canevin or Latrobe, he will need to have big games for us.”
If the senior goalie can play to the potential his coach sees in him, Chartiers Valley might be in line for some big things.
“My goal for this season is to not only to get to the Penguins Cup but to win it and get us to states,” Stevenson said.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.