The Connecticut Nighthawks are getting a very good reputation, in just their second year of existence, for producing college-ready goalies.
By Joshua Boyd
In their inaugural Eastern Hockey League season of 2015-16, the first-ever college commitment for the Nighthawks was goalie Jordan Bustard. As a freshman at UMass-Boston, Bustard played in 16 games through Feb. 7.
Following in his footsteps is Dylan Schoen, who committed to the State University of New York at Geneseo. Schoen, a teammate of Bustard’s on that first Nighthawks team, has won four of Connecticut’s 10 wins (two were shutouts). He held a .914 save percentage.
After seeing Bustard make his commitment last year, Schoen now understands the excitement he saw last year.
“It’s definitely the No. 1 moment in my career, it’s what I’ve worked my whole life for,” said Schoen. “It’s been a long road, and I’m glad [the commitment] is done.”
Schoen is going to a NCAA Division 3 power, one that has made the D-3 Frozen Four in two of the last three years. Geneseo was the SUNY Athletic Conference champion in 2016, as well.
“They started watching me [in 2014-15], but this year, they started talking to me more seriously,” added Schoen. “I made the visit in early January, and made it official after that.
“They have a great history. When I got there, and I talked to the players, we immediately clicked,” said Schoen. “The coaches are great, and the atmosphere and the way they get treated is also great.”
The SUNY-Geneseo staff has seen the way Schoen has handled adversity. The Nighthawks have struggled to an 8-28 record, and have struggled to set a standard line-up. Even in goal, Schoen is one of five Nighthawks goalies to have played at least 180 minutes for the team this year.
“It has not come easy. We obviously don’t have the best record, but we’ve learned to grind it out,” said Schoen. “I learned that I have to be the hardest-working guy and be the backbone of the team.”
Schoen is working especially this year on rebound control and skating.
“If I can control the rebounds, that equals less shots on during a game. As for skating, if I can get into position, I’ll make the save,” he added.
At Geneseo, he’s looking forward to the small-town life, coming from a city of 65,000 [Ellicott City, Md.] to Geneseo, a town of 7,900.
“It has a small campus in a nice college town,” Schoen added. “It’s a nice, small close-knit area, where all the people know the hockey players.”
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