Lauerman learns to persevere in OPRF net
Oak Park-River Forest's Wiley Lauerman (42) stops a shot by Bartlett's Dean Lamantia (91) Jan. 13, 2013 at the Paul Hruby Ice Arena in Oak Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:46PM
OAK PARK — Over the course of his high school hockey career, Oak Park-River Forest junior Wiley Lauerman’s physical progression is typical of many of the IHSHL West Division’s best goalies.
He’s become stronger, quicker and improved his positioning in the crease during the last three seasons. But where Lauerman sets himself apart from most of the Metro West’s top goaltenders is his ability to handle failure.
The Huskies won a combined nine regular season games in Lauerman’s first two seasons on varsity and are again struggling to generate goals and win games this year. In net, Lauerman has regularly been bombarded — for example, he turned away an eye-popping 47 shots against Sandburg on Nov. 18 — and the IHSHL West Division All-Star has allowed more than 100 goals in 30 games this season.
Knowing Oak Park-River Forest’s struggles to score and possess the puck for long stretches of time, Lauerman has developed a simplistic approach in net to deal with the frustration that accompanies goals finding the net.
“I just try to not let up any weak goals because I know I’m going to get scored on,” said Lauerman, an Oak Park resident. “It’s happened to me a million times and it’s going to happen a million times more ... . It’s hard to stay positive. I’d be lying to you if I said that I’m always positive. (Allowing goals) gets to me, obviously. I’ve just got to stop as many goals as I can and try to keep my team in it as best as I can.”
The Huskies were defeated 6-0 on Sunday by the Wildhawks, a combined team comprised of players primarily from Bartlett and West Chicago, in a game which unfolded similarly to many of the Huskies games this season. The junior made 34 saves — at least four were point-blank opportunities — but the Wildhawks still scored six goals.
While the final was lopsided, senior defensemen Nick Rorres and Kevin Rogers both agreed that Lauerman, who was scheduled to join the pair in the Illinois West All-Star game on Monday, played outstanding in net. For Rogers, Lauerman’s ability to keep battling against a talented team peppering him with shots was another example of the mental progression he’s made during his varsity career.
“He’s got a lot more composure,” Rogers said. “He used to get a little more rattled in games like this, and he’d let up more goals. But now he can kind of stay strong and persevere through it. He never really gives up against any team.”