The Hartland Hounds are losing starting goaltender Andrew Brownlee to NCAA Division III Finlandia next season, but already have his replacement in Bryce Goulah signed for the upcoming season.
Goulah, an 18-year-old Howell, Mich., native, is the Hounds’ first tender signing for the 2013-14 season.
A tender is a sort of contract that commits a player to the Midwest Junior Hockey League team with which he signed.
During the 2012-13 season, Goulah played for the Lansing Capitals 18U AAA team and went 9-2-0 with a miniscule 1.63 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage with one shutout.
“Goaltending is a very important position for us,” said Hartland coach-GM Randy Montrose. “Bryce is a player we are familiar with and kept an eye on him all of last season.”
Coming to the Hounds is also a homecoming of sorts for Goulah, well-versed in the coaching style of the Hounds’ staff, having played for Howell High School under Montrose, Scott Gardiner and Marty Passino.
“I have kept in contact with Randy and Scott over the past couple years,” said Goulah, who signed with the Traverse City Cohos of the MWJHL last year prior to the Cohos going dormant. “Last year, I watched the Hounds play on several occasions and I have previously played with most of the Hounds players. They are a very well-coached club and were a very competitive team this past season.”
His year of seasoning with the Capitals should help Goulah make the jump to junior hockey.
”My past year in Lansing was very successful,” Goulah said. “I believe I developed extremely well there and it is a great program. Playing AAA hockey really is a high level of hockey and I really enjoyed it.”
Though he has tendered with Hartland, Goulah will attend several North American Hockey League and United States Hockey League tryout camps this summer with an eye on cracking a roster there.
“Bryce is obviously a player we feel he has the talent to make a Tier I or Tier II roster, but if that doesn’t work out, we feel he can come in and develop here and we can then advance him to a higher level,” said Montrose. “Bryce has the passion we look for in a goalie and as a staff, we feel he has the ability to put up the type of numbers Brownlee did this past season.”
Goulah’s work ethic is also an aspect of his game Montrose said would be an asset to the Hounds. Goulah said he considers himself not the typical goaltender.
“I feel I play an unorthodox style of goaltending,” said Goulah. “I just battle hard for every puck and do my job, which is to stop the puck.
”I can bring the hard work ethic to the rink everyday. I know how to win hockey games and no matter where I play next year, that is what I want to do.”