Former University of Maine All-American Jim Montgomery knows goalies.
The two goalies who helped lead the 1992-93 Maine team captained by Montgomery to the NCAA championship, Garth Snow and Mike Dunham, went on to have productive NHL careers.
Montgomery, the general manager and coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League, will be sending one of his goalies to Maine in 2012 or 2013.
Seventeen-year-old Matt Morris, who is leading the USHL in goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.930), has verbally committed to attend Maine.
“He will be ready to play immediately when he gets to Maine. He’ll compete for the number one job,” predicted Montgomery. “He’s an ultra-competitive kid. He has Garth’s mental makeup. He has his self-belief and competitiveness. Talent-wise, he’s more like Matt DelGuidice than anyone I played with at Maine. He’s very square to pucks. When he’s playing well, pucks hit him and he doesn’t give up any rebounds. He works hard in practice, he’s very diligent in the weight room and he’s one of those kids who is already following a very strict diet.”
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Morris, a native of Ridgewood, N.J., said he is “very excited” about committing to Maine.
“It’s a great school with great coaches and a great hockey tradition,” said Morris. “They have a tradition of producing pro goalies and top-notch college goalies.”
“As a goalie, coming to Maine was a no-brainer,” added Morris. “Alfond Arena is pretty cool and the fans are great.”
He said he chose Maine over several other Division I schools and likes the fact he is going to be playing on the East Coast so his family can see him play more often.
Morris credited former Maine assistant coach Grant Standbrook, who is a consultant for the Fighting Saints, with “really changing my season around.”
“I was struggling quite a bit in the preseason, but he came to work with us and had me on top of my game. He really simplified my game,” said Morris, who will be a scholarship player.
“He’s going to be a very good college goalie and he’ll help elevate the program. He’ll give them a chance to win in every game,” said Montgomery.
His coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.