ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Every year Alaska produces a handful of National Hockey League prospects, and recently the discussion has been dominated by goalies.
From the NHL level down to college, goalies from the 49th state have made their mark. A list that includes Washington Capitals Pheonix Copley from North Pole, Eagle River’s Andrew Shortridge signed with the San Jose Sharks, and Anchorage’s Jeremy Swayman drafted in 2017 by the Boston Bruins.
That trend doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon as West Anchorage’s Isaiah Saville was recently named USA Hockey Goalie of the year.
“I think I stepped out of my shell,” said Saville discussing his 2019 season. “I knew that I had to with the draft coming up this year, I’m happy with how I played this year.”
Saville played 34 games for the Tri-Storm in the United States Hockey League, allowing less than two goals a game, and was in net for Team USA when they won the World Junior A Challenge.
Along with the accolades, Saville seems to be attracting attention from pro scouts, was recently invited to the NHL Draft Combine, and is recognized as a top North American goalie.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on with the draft, I make sure to have fun, and that’s really what it’s about in the end,” said Saville.
It hasn’t been simple for Saville, slowly ascending through the youth hockey ranks. It all began in West Anchorage when he led the Eagles to a state championship in 2016 as a freshman.
“It was definitely hard to make the jump from high school hockey to U-16 hockey,” said Saville. “I never really doubted myself, at times it was hard, but I never doubted myself.”
In 2017 he played competitive hockey out of state in Colorado, and would spend the next season in Minnesota playing in the North American Hockey League before getting called up to play for the Tri-City Storm in the United States Hockey League.
“I think it humbles you a lot, and I think it’s a good example of what the process is in hockey,” said Saville. “It’s not always you play juniors and go straight to college.”
Saville will play for the University of Nebraska Omaha next season, and looks to crack the roster as a true freshman. The Mavericks face-off with UAA in Anchorage on October 31st and November 1st.
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