Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Steve Craig email@example.com
With his Division III-best 1.36 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, Portland native Nick Broadwater is already having a senior hockey season to remember.
But the Hobart College goalie has his sights set even higher -- for this season and beyond.
The first goal is to help get the Statesmen back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. After that the former Portland Junior Pirate (and Deering High grad) is hoping to continue his career in the professional ranks, possibly in Europe.
The Hobart team just returned from a five-game exhibition tour of Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
"I would love to play over there. I loved it over there and the benefits (in Europe), housing and salary, are a lot better than the minor leagues get over here," Broadwater said. "I'd like to play as long as I can."
Hobart Coach Mark Taylor, a former Division I assistant at UMass-Lowell and Cornell, believes in Broadwater.
"I've had guys both from Division I and Division III level, and I have no question that he can play in the minors in the states, in the CHL or the ECHL," Taylor said. "With goaltenders, so much of it is somebody has to look at him and say, 'that's my guy.' And, the same thing in Europe. He's capable of playing over there."
Hobart is ranked No. 3 in both the USCHO.com and D3hockey.com polls, the highest spot ever for the Statesmen. With an 11-1-2 record, Hobart is in position to break the school record for wins and winning percentage set in 2008-09 (21-7-2) when it went to the NCAA semifinals.
"We had a great start to the season and we played well in Europe," Broadwater said. "But the second half of the season will be huge, all league play."
Hobart plays in the ECAC West, which does not receive an automatic bid. Last season the Statesmen went 16-10-1 and won the ECAC West tournament, with Broadwater coming back from an ankle injury to win tourney MVP honors, but were not invited to the tourney.
"We won five straight, won the championship, were nationally ranked and playing probably our best hockey of the year and then it was over like that," Broadwater said. "A lot of guys were pretty bitter about that and came back really strong this season."
Broadwater has been Hobart's starting goalie since he arrived at the Geneva, N.Y., campus. As a freshman he went 10-8-2 with a .925 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average, and was named ECAC West rookie of the year. He followed that with a 14-8-2, .926, 2.45 GAA during his sophomore season.
Prior to college, Broadwater played for the Portland Junior Pirates. After high school, Broadwater joined the Boston Junior Bruins. The plan was to play a lot and earn a Division I scholarship. Instead he was slowed by injuries. He visited several campuses, including Maine, Northeastern, Providence and Union, but no scholarships were offered.
"With me getting hurt they wanted me to play another year of juniors and I was ready to go to school. And I wanted to play. I wanted to be a starter right away," Broadwater said.
"We had lost an All-American in Keith Longo," Taylor said. "In my mind I see Nick in that same class for sure. He broke Keith's shutout record. He's done a great job, on the ice, off the ice and in the classroom."
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