USA Hockey Magazine

June/July 2013

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john gibson By Joe Sager Steel City Assembly Line What's Behind The Propagation Of Pittsburgh's Prolific Puck Stoppers? or many years, western Pennsylvania has been known as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks." Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas are some of the football greats who hail from the Pittsburgh region. Recently, the area has produced some top hockey talent, notably NHL veterans Ryan Malone and R. J. Umberger, and newcomers J.T. Miller and Brandon Saad. However, Pittsburgh's "Goaltender Generation" has burst onto the scene at the college and Junior hockey levels. No Pittsburgh goalie has reached the NHL, but that could change soon. John Gibson leads the way. The 2011 NHL second-round draft choice of the Anaheim Ducks helped lead Team USA (which had three other Pittsburgh-born 16 June/July. 2013 players) to gold at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named the tournament's top goaltender and most valuable player. More recently Gibson was named one of three goaltenders to play for the U.S. National Team at the IIHF World Championship, joining Mike Richter (1986) and Mike Dunham (1992) as the only U.S. netminders to play in both tournaments in the same year. "John Gibson is an excellent goaltender," said Ron Rolston, who coached Gibson at the National Team Development Program. "He has a big upside, big potential. He's big, athletic. He's got a lot of pro potential because of his size and his competitive nature." Pittsburgh's goaltenders have claimed the 2011 and '12 NCAA Div. I national USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM championships. Kenny Reiter backstopped the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2011, and Parker Milner guided Boston College to last year's title. Mike Martin was on the St. Norbert College squad that captured back-to-back Div. III titles. Rob Madore is now plying his trade in the AHL after a stellar four-year career at Vermont. Mike Houser, who turned pro with Cincinnati of the ECHL, became the first American to claim the Canadian Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year Award last season with the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights. This year, five local men – Jake Hildebrand (Michigan State), Matt Skoff (Penn State), Bryce Merriam (RPI), Greg Lewis (Clarkson) and Milner (BC) – and two women – Lindsay Holdcroft (Dartmouth) and Katelyn Pippy (Cornell) – were starting goaltenders at D-I programs. So, what's in the water in those Three Rivers? "I think every goaltender that came out of Pittsburgh has been naturally gifted," Photos By Images on Ice; Getty Images (3)

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