Hirshorn, Boettinger among the best duos in youth hockey
Given the amount of games youth hockey teams are expected to play, having strong and consistent goaltending is paramount to success.
When taking stock of the best youth hockey programs around the world, a common theme is that most of them are equipped with not one goalie who can get the job done, but two. There are a variety of teams throughout the World Rankings whose reliance on multiple and dependable netminders are a common theme.
We take a look at some of these players whose time between the pipes have propelled their squads to top spots.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s (29-1-1) is the top-ranked 2006-born team in the world. Standing apart from teams such as No. 2 CSKA Moscow, No. 3 Long Island Gulls and No. 4 Krylia Sovetov they have been a mainstay ahead of the pack. A large result of Shattuck’s stellar performance this season has been the combined efforts of their goaltending duo, Jack Hirshorn and Harry Boettinger.
Hirshorn, the first-year Sabre from Tampa, Florida, USA looms large at 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs. A frame that lends itself perfectly to the goaltending position, he leaves little room for opposing shooters to find a hole. On the other hand, Boettinger’s slender appearance may fool even the most skilled offensive forward. Just when they think there is plenty of net to aim at, quick pads and a lightning-fast glove turn away even the most dangerous scoring chances with ease.
Stability brings success
SSM knows they have a great chance of victory with either player in net, which has also allowed for an even balance of their workloads. In 16 games this season, Hirshorn has compiled a 15-1-0 record, along with a 1.79 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. In the 15 games Boettinger has suited up for, he has been undefeated at 14-0-1, with a 1.98 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
Shattuck has been able to record six shutout victories this season, four from Hirshorn and two from Boettinger.
Both players don’t seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon, so it appears as if teams will have to find new ways to best them or continue to be tormented.
‘07 Pelicans’ ceiling rests on Teva and Väisänen
The Pelicans (13-8-0) know that to remain competitive in a stacked group of fellow ‘07 Finnish teams, their ability to stop some incredible high-powered offenses will be key.
And with goaltenders like Niklas Väisänen and Joel Teva, they just might be able to do so. The pair has backstopped the Pelicans to a 3-2-0 start to the month.
Teva has seen more time in the crease, with a .927 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average to his credit. However, that’s not to take away from what his counterpart has been able to do in game action. Väisänen’s .923 save percentage and 2.01 goals-against average are good for third among all goaltenders in their 13-team group.
The duo was holding opponents to one goal in three straight games before a matchup with No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo on Wednesday. Teva’s 33 save-performance was not enough however as their win streak was snapped with a 6-2 loss.
Väisänen and Teva will have an opportunity to help their team get back in the win column as they have a rematch against K-Espoo this Saturday. No matter who is in goal for the Pelicans, they should expect another steady stream of pucks and offensive zone time.
Raynard, Parker get extreme for ‘08 Northern Alberta
Fresh off a solid showing at the 2022 Rocky Mountain Classic showcase for Western Canadian clubs, Parker Snell proved he is among the best 2008-born players at stopping the puck.
Being hailed as one of the best goalies at the tournament after going 3-0-0, Snell’s heroics in net did not come as a surprise to his teammates. He has been an essential part of No. 8 Northern Alberta Xtreme’s (12-0-0) undefeated success all season long. In net for seven of the team’s 12 victories, his 1.41 goals-against average and .938 save percentage with two shutouts jump off the stat sheet.
Donning the pads when Snell gets the night off, Taylor Ranyard proves he is just as capable of his duties in the crease. Winning all five games he has appeared in and statistically almost parallel to Snell, Raynard has put up a 1.40 goals-against average with a .921 save percentage and two shutouts.
Impressive numbers for both that prove that on any given night, the Xtreme have a solid chance of victory before the puck even drops.