Fearing a repeat of this past season when inconsistent goaltending over the second half of the season contributed to a 3-17-3 finish, the University of Maine’s hockey team has received a verbal commitment from an Ontario Junior Hockey League All-Star goaltender.
Shawn Sirman, a native of Blezard Valley, Ontario, is looking forward to vying for the starting job with Scott Darling and Dave Wilson next season. Darling will be a sophomore and Wilson will be a senior.
“It will be a battle, of course. They are two real good goalies. It will be fun,” said Sirman, who will be on a full scholarship.
Sirman had a 21-5 record during the regular season for the Kingston Voyageurs with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. He is currently 17-5 in the playoffs with a 2.34 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Kingston took a 2-1 series lead into game four of their best-of-seven OJHL championship series with Oakville on Friday night.
“I’ve been involved at this level for nine years and he’s, by far, one of the best goaltenders we’ve ever had here if not the best,” said Kingston coach Evan Robinson. “He’s an exceptional kid. He has a tremendous work ethic that is second to none.
“He’s a butterfly goaltender who challenges well and he plays the puck as well as any NCAA goaltender,” added Robinson. “He competes hard at a high level. This is the furthest Kingston has ever gone in the playoffs and Shawn has been a big part of it. He’s going to be an unbelievable four-year guy for Maine.”
The 5-foot-11½, 185-pound Sirman, who will turn 19 on Wednesday, said he is excited to be coming to Maine.
“It’s a great program and I hear nothing but positive things about it,” said Sirman, who had been contacted by a few other Division I schools. “It’s one of the winningest programs in college hockey history.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” added Sirman.
He also said the fact Maine has produced nine NHL goaltenders entered into his decision.
“They’ve always had great goaltenders and I hope to continue on that path,” said Sirman.
His coming to Maine is dependent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
Maine received an earlier verbal commitment from 16-year-old goalie Matt McNeely of Lakeville, Minn., who will come to Maine beginning with the 2011-2012 season.
McNeely recently earned a spot on the U.S. Under-17 National Team Development Program team for next season.