Maine Hockey Journal

UMaine receives commitment from Mundinger

Six-foot-seven Ben Bishop was the tallest goalie in the history of the University of Maine’s hockey program dating back to 1977.

Beginning next fall, the Tampa Bay Lightning netminder will be the school’s second-tallest.

The Black Bears have received a verbal commitment from 6-8, 240-pound Stephen Mundinger of Smithtown, New York.

Mundinger had a 2.71 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage for the New York Aviators of the NA3EHL this season.

He won’t be a scholarship player this coming season but could earn a scholarship down the road.

“I’m pretty thrilled about it,” said the 20-year-old Mundinger, who chose Maine for a variety of reasons.

“I loved the coaching staff. They’re great people,” said Mundinger. “Coach [Red] Gendron has a [top-notch] track record at every level. And the reputation Maine has for [developing] goalies is amazing.”

Maine has three goalies in the NHL: Bishop, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Chicago’s Scott Darling.

“For such a big man, Steve is very athletic. He moves very well in the net,” said Aviators coach and general manager Mike Stanaway. “He’s 6-foot-8 but he plays like he’s 5-foot-9. He can go from post to post to make athletic saves. And he handles the puck very well.”

Stanaway said Mundinger is coachable and called him a “high-character kid.”

“He’s very down-to-earth. He does everything the right way,” said Stanaway. “It shows on the ice, in his academics, in his off-ice workouts and in the way he treats people.”

Mundinger is a late bloomer. He grew up playing inline (roller blade) hockey before making the transition to ice hockey in high school.

“Playing inline hockey really helped me because the puck is so much lighter than the puck in ice hockey,” said Mundinger. “They can really fire it. When I switched over to ice hockey, the puck came at me a lot slower.”

He pointed out that he faced a lot of great players during his inline days, including ones who had pro ice hockey careers.

Once he made the switch to ice hockey, Mundinger said he took a lot of power-skating lessons and he will continue to do so. One of his instructors was former New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils power skating coach Barbara Williams.

“You can always improve your skating,” said Mundinger, who considers Bishop one of the goalies he looks up to.

Mundinger intends to spend a lot of time in the gym and on the ice in preparation for next fall.

He will join four other goalies, including returnees Rob McGovern, Matt Morris and Sean Romeo, along with newcomer Tyler Johnson, who may have to sit out a year because he appeared in one game for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario (Major Junior A) Hockey League during the 2014-15 season.

They will have a new goalie coach at Maine in Alfie Michaud.

Mundinger’s participation at Maine is contingent upon his being accepted into the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.

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