Guarding the goal, building a team

Lane stays in the net ready to take on Utah State’s offense. The Wildcat’s beat the Aggies 3-2.

Wearing No. 29 for Weber State’s club hockey team, goalkeeper Kyle Lane is a critical part of the team’s success. Coming off of a 696 save season, Lane currently has a 0.927 save percentage this year.

“Hockey has been my whole life,” Lane said. “It’s going to be one of those things I can’t give up.”

Lane became passionate about hockey during his childhood in Raynham, Massachusetts. A popular sport in the area, Lane was introduced to hockey by his father, who played goalie himself. His father, along with former Dallas Stars’ goalie Marty Turco, inspired Lane to play his position. Lane discovered his passion for goalkeeping when playing in recreation leagues.

“When I was young and started playing hockey, everyone had to take turns being the goalie,” Lane said. “It was more mesmerizing making a save or catching the puck rather than getting big hits and scoring goals.”

Before becoming a Wildcat, Lane played junior hockey for teams in Wisconsin and Montana for two seasons before committing to Weber State. While entering the team, Lane was skeptical about the skill level of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

“When you’re in juniors and you’re coming to the end of it, it seems like you’re at the end of your career when you don’t go to the NCAA as a hockey player,” Lane said. “Ten years ago, the ACHA might have not been that great, or maybe it might have had a bad rap, but [over] the last five to six years, it’s been really good.”

As a captain, Lane needs crystal-clear communication with his teammates to be an effective leader. With players like forward Osmn Cholak and Andrei Shmakov, who are both from Russia, there are occasional language barriers.

“We help them in any way they can,” Lane said. “Most of them played their juniors here, so they’ve been here three, four, five years and have a decent knowledge of English when they come in, so honestly we haven’t really had that bad of a language barrier.”

Lane has been a staple of the Wildcats for two years, but will be leaving after this season. Graduating with a criminal justice degree, Lane is hoping the team can make it to the ACHA national tournament in Massachusetts for his senior season.

“We have the talent and we’re starting to put it together as a team,” Lane said.

With Lane leaving Weber State next year, the starting goalie position is up for grabs. The position is likely to be given to goalies Robbie Brennan and Keaton Morrison, who are already on the roster. That said, Lane believes a new recruit could come in.

“I see the team bringing in a guy just because Robbie is a little older, but I don’t see there being a problem with the guys we have on the roster,” Lane said.

The Wildcats will travel up north this week to take on the University of Montana on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. After, they’ll play a double-header against Montana State University on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, both at 7 p.m.