Freshman Maddock earns trust for GVSU Division II hockey

Newcomer has posted ninth-best ACHA Division II goals allowed average

By Josh Peick | 2/11/16 12:04am

GVL / Emily Frye Goalies Jiri Aberle (left) and Jared Maddock on Friday Jan. 29, 2016.
by Emily Frye and Emily Frye / The Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State Division II men’s hockey club has piggybacked off the play of its defense and goaltenders to one of the top spots in the nation. The two-headed monster of goaltenders Jiri Aberle and Spencer Craig fueled GVSU's first-half success, but after Craig was put on the inactive list for the second semester, a new player stepped up for the Lakers. Freshman goaltender Jared Maddock filled the void, and since his promotion, GVSU hasn’t missed a beat.

Maddock started playing hockey when he was 7 years old, but not as a goaltender. He started as a forward and transitioned to goalie a few years later. He didn’t make the transition for more ice time or to make great saves.

He did it for the gear.

“I just liked looking at the cool pads as a kid and I just thought it would be more fun,” Maddock said.

Whatever the reason, since Maddock made the switch to goalie, he has been successful. He played goaltender at Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan, a school that is a perennial top team in the state.

He then came to GVSU, where in the first semester he played only four games as the third-string goaltender.

“Coming out of high school it was an adjustment at first, but now I am starting to get used to the pace a lot more,” Maddock said.

Since the start of the second semester, Maddock has played in five of GVSU's eight games. He is undefeated in the second half of the season, boasting an 8-1 overall record, to go along with two shutouts on the season.

“Him being a freshman, it put him in a tough spot and it has been nice to see him stand up and handle the workload,” said GVSU head coach Mike Forbes. “It’s a relief to see that he has been very comfortable in the games, and the team is comfortable playing in front of him.”

“Obviously Spencer (Craig) and I played a lot of games,” said senior goaltender Jiri Aberle, “but (Maddock) kept battling and practicing hard. I think as a goalie, if you know you are going to get some extra ice time, and the coaches believe in you, your game is going to elevate to the next level.”

Maddock's game has done just that. He has risen in the national rankings for lowest goals allowed average, currently tied for ninth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II with a 1.89 average.

He attributes his success this season to sound technical play, being in the correct position in the net and making it tough for the opposing offense to find scoring opportunities.

“I feel like I am always square to the puck and to the shooter. I don’t give up much net to shoot at," Maddock said.

With the season winding down, the importance of each game only heightens. With both Aberle and Maddock playing consistently at a high level, both will share the workload down the stretch.

“We have let Jiri and Jared both play for a number of reasons," Forbes said. "One is to see who is going to step up, and both guys have. It puts us in a position where we will continue to show confidence in each player."

As a senior, Aberle has taken Maddock under his wing, bonding with him throughout the season and sharing any advice that he has.

“We’re really good friends and we talk a lot before and after games and practices,” Aberle said. “I like the way he competes in practice and he just has to keep it up. He’s going to be here for the next three or four years, so as long as he keeps his competing level up, he will be just fine.”

Although this season is of utmost importance, with Aberle graduating this year, the starting goaltender spot is open for next season. Maddock will be first in line for the spot when the time comes.

“I think any experience that he gains now is going to make him a better goaltender for us in the future,” Forbes said. “I really believe his best games, his best hockey, are ahead of him.”

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