The Steinbach Pistons are thrilled to announce that goaltender Matt Lenz has committed to the Mercyhurst University Lakers of NCAA Division I.
With his commitment, Lenz has become the fifth Pistons goalie in the past five seasons to earn a Division I commitment, joining Nick Deery (Minnesota-Duluth), Roman Bengert (Lake Superior St.), Matthew Thiessen (Maine), and his former goaltending partner Matt Radomsky (Holy Cross).
“I am thrilled for Lenzy as he has worked extremely hard to earn this opportunity,” Head Coach and General Manager Paul Dyck said. “He is one of the greatest examples of persevering through adversity as a young goalie that I have ever seen.”
Mercyhurst University is located in Erie, Pennsylvania with a student population of just under 3,000 attendees. The Lakers play out of the Atlantic Hockey division.
Lenz explained his decision to choose Mercyhurst, saying that he went on a school visit this past weekend. “I liked the way the campus was set up and that it was a smaller school, and classes weren’t overly big,” he said. “They have an amazing and storied hockey program, and everything felt great with the guys on the team that I got to meet. It just felt like a great fit and opportunity for myself.”
The 20-year-old from Grapevine, Texas has had a stellar year with Steinbach this season, currently leading the league with 26-3-3 record, a .927 SV%, and a 1.96 GAA. He also earned himself a Player of the Game award at the MJHL/SJHL Showcase in Regina and was named the MJHL Goalie of the Month in January.
“It’s definitely been a good year for me statistically, and I’ve had a lot of fun being able to help the team win in any way I can,” Lenz explained. “I could credit a lot of people for my success: coaches for giving me the opportunity they have here in Steinbach, all my teammates the last few years for believing in me and playing as good as they do in front of me every night.
Lenz also listed off some others who have helped along the way. “Our trainers and staff for always helping me through injuries or anything I need, education advisor Louis Cote on helping to map out my goals in hockey and school.”
“My billets for first letting me into their home and taking care of me to provide me with everything I need to be at my best,” he continued. “And finally, my family for always being able to support me financially with hockey and going through all the up and downs with me and being my biggest supporters. I definitely wouldn’t be here where I am today without them along with everyone else.”
It has been a long road for Lenz to receive this commitment, who was cut from many different teams before coming to Steinbach. He only played one year of AAA midget hockey in Moose Jaw when he was 17 years old before starting his junior career, where he was also cut from two different squads in his first year.
“My hockey career has been filled with a lot of adversity and it’s been a crazy ride to get to this point in my career,” Lenz commented. “It was filled with a lot of downs and low points for me, but I was able to push through and stick with it.”
And as a result, he found a home with the Pistons the past two seasons. “Coming to Steinbach and having the success that I’ve had would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for my goalie coach Steve Briere and Paul taking the chance on me last year, along with everyone else that’s been on this journey with me.”
For Dyck, he says Lenz’s hockey journey is one of the most unique and incredible ones he’s seen throughout his coaching days. “Matt always maintained his focus on the goals he set, and kept believing he could get to where he wanted to be.”
Lenz is grateful to have spent his past two years with the Pistons organization. “If it wasn’t for Steinbach, I would have never gotten any of these opportunities that I’ve gotten with hockey today, and I would never have grown into the goalie I am on the ice and the man I am off the ice.” he explained. “I’ve learned so much here that has allowed me to prepare for college hockey next year in the classroom and on the ice.”
The Pistons organization would like to congraulate Matt and his family on his commitment to Mercyhurst!