The University of Maine men’s hockey team has landed a goalie who is leading the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in goals-against average.
Seventeen-year-old Matthew Thiessen, who plays for the Steinbach Pistons, has verbally committed to attend the University of Maine beginning in the fall of 2019.
The 6-foot-2, 191-pound Thiessen is also second in the league in wins with 16 and in save percentage at .926.
The native of Altona, Manitoba, who will be a scholarship athlete, has a 16-2 record for the league leaders.
Steinbach general manager and head coach Paul Dyck said Thiessen has an exceptional work ethic and can make difficult saves look easy thanks to his strong fundamentals.
“He wants to be an elite goaltender so he is always working on his game. His work ethic stands out,” said Dyck. “He squares to the puck and is fundamentally sound.
“He reads the play well and that allows him to make real good decisions. He is able to see the big picture and weigh his options. That’s a huge plus,” said Dyck.
Dyck also said Thiessen is unflappable, even after allowing a goal.
“I love his demeanor. He really rebounds well. He turns the page very quickly,” said Dyck, who added that he is “a really easy kid to coach. He comes to the rink with a smile on his face. He is incredibly mature for a 17-year-old.”
Thiessen plays the puck well, too, according to his coach.
Thiessen said when he visited UMaine, he knew “it was the place for me.
“I loved the atmosphere. It was very unique with the fans and the student (section),” said Thiessen, who also liked the rural setting.
The coaching staff impressed him and he was already familiar with UMaine assistant/goalie coach Alfie Michaud.
Michaud is a Selkirk, Manitoba, native and former UMaine goalie who coached Manitoba’s Under-16 goalies a few years ago.
“I loved (having him as a coach),” said Thiessen.
Thiessen said he wants to improve his footwork, his ability to read plays and his puck-moving skills.
His participation at UMaine is contingent upon his being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.
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