Hockey: Four possible players vying for goalie position

Goalie breakdown

One of the bigger question marks for Ohio is who will be starting in goal.

Freshman Ryan Heltion, junior Scott Boyd, sophomore Aaron Alkema and senior Ian Smith are all vying for the spot, and coach Jonathon Sheridan said he still hasn’t decided on who will start this weekend against John Carroll.

“A lot goes into the decision and guys are still working hard to get into the spot,” Sheridan said.

Smith appeared in four games last season, finishing with a 4.01 goals against average and a .768 save percentage. Alkema made three appearances and posted a 4.25 goals against average and a .857 save percentage last season. Boyd and Heltion are newcomers to the team.

“Boyd, he’s a guy we’re looking to,” Sheridan said. “Heltion, he was a tryout goalie we didn’t know what to expect from but he really impressed. We’re looking for big things from Alkema as well; coming in last year halfway through, it was time to get his feet wet and understand the program, and now we’re looking for him to come in and shut the door on the opposing team.”

Sheridan has rich hockey background filled with OU connections

Sheridan has been exposed to the Ohio hockey tradition for years, even though this is only his second season affiliated with the team.

It all started on frozen patios near Kalamazoo, Mich., where Sheridan began playing with his cousins at age three.

Sheridan played minor hockey in Midland, Mich., on a team coached by Steve Witt, an Ohio University alum who had played alongside former Ohio coach Dan Morris.

“He kind of got the OU bug in my ear back when I was 15,” Sheridan said. “So I kind of had the OU mentality coming from him since he knew how everything worked here.”

As Sheridan progressed through the ranks, he joined a Junior A team, the Traverse City North Stars of the North American Hockey League, where Chad Fournier, another OU alum and teammate of Morris, was the coach.

“So I feel that I’ve had a long history of being unofficially involved (with the team),” Sheridan said.

From there, Sheridan played for Lawrence University in Wisconsin. He was named captain of the team for his senior season. After college, he signed a tryout contract with the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional League but was let go of shortly thereafter.

“I decided that I was going to take an alternate route with my life,” Sheridan said. “And this is where I am now.”

Camaraderie key in locker room

A tight-knit group combined with a loose environment is a hallmark of most close hockey locker rooms, and last year the Bobcats’ was no exception.

“I’ve said this a million times — this was the most close-knit team I’ve ever been on,” said Derek Rahme, a sophomore forward.

Although this season is in its beginning stages, that camaraderie survived the coaching change and the departure of key players.

“Everyone got back a week early just to get back to the guys quicker,” said Rahme, who lived at a teammate’s house for a week before he was allowed to move into his dorm this semester.

The new guys have fit right in, said junior forward Nathan De La Torre.

“Camaraderie in a hockey locker room, it seems the same every year,” De La Torre said. “We have 11 new guys, and I think it’s going to be good. So far everyone’s starting to click and get along.”

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