Logan Stein developed an interest in playing hockey when he made frequent rides to Atlanta with his father to watch the Thrashers play National Hockey League games.
In the days before he advanced to the point at which specialized goalie coaching was available, Stein went back to watching the NHL — often viewing televised games with an intent and a keen eye.
“A lot of it was watching NHL guys on TV, learning and trying to reenact what they do when you first start playing,” Stein said of learning the position.
After rotating between forward, defense and occasional time in goal in his early years on the recreational level, with his parents’ support, Stein made the switch to goalie as a 9-year-old.
“The years before we always rotated goalies on rec league teams and I really liked it.”
Stein, who grew up in Suwanee, Georgia, left home long before his junior days to start developing his hockey career.
A participant in the Select-15, -16 and -17 National Player Development Camps the past three summers, Stein lived with billet families while playing for the TPH Thunder in Alabama and the Oakland Junior Grizzlies in Michigan. He added to his high-level competition opportunities by making it to two USA Hockey Youth National Championships. At the Select-17 camp, Stein surrendered less than 1.5 goals per game while recording a .960 save percentage.
Those experiences helped prepare Stein to succeed as a young goalie in the USHL.
The 17-year-old Ferris State University commit has allowed just one goal in each of his last four appearances for the surging Black Hawks.
Waterloo has won seven straight, improving the USHL Western Conference’s second-best record to 26-10-3-1.
The last three appearances have been starts, but the personal streak began with 51-plus minutes when he was called on to replace the starter due to injury.
“That was my first time ever coming in like that, as far as for an injury,” Stein said. “He came out at a media timeout, so it gave me a or minute or two to get ready, so I wasn’t really panicked at all.”
Stein responded by stopping 27 of 28 shots in a 5-1 win over the Omaha Lancers.
The Black Hawks have allowed just six goals in their seven-game winning streak.
“We’re picking up steam as the season has gone alone,” said Stein, who is fifth in the league with a 2.54 goals against average. "Keeping the puck out of the net helps the team win. We defend as a group of six out there.
“We just communicate, move pucks north and play quick.”
Stein, who doesn’t turn 18 until April, has been an increasing part of that effort, going 13-3-1 with a .902 save percentage in his first junior season. His season has included a selection to and appearance in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
“I’m a younger guy on the team, so I’ve had to work for my playing time,” he said, “but I’ve felt like I’ve had a good year, gotten a good amount of ice time and developed as the year has gone along. I was a little raw coming in.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc. Photo courtesy of Hickling Images.