By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
Sometimes, one big game on your league’s biggest stage can be a tipping point in sending a college coach to inquire about your future with their team.
This was the case for Northern Cyclones goaltender Mason Meyer, who put up a 33-save performance in a 5-1 win against the Metro Jets Development Program in the Round of 16 at the USPHL National Championships.
“I first started talking with Rivier [University] after our win against the Metro Jets Development Program. Coach [Matt] Keating said that he liked my athleticism and my compete level and invited me to visit the school when we returned to Nashua after Nationals,” said Meyer, an ‘02 goalie from Lakeville, Minn., who played his only season with the Cyclones this past year, ending his junior career as a USPHL Premier National Champion.
“The journey was definitely a fun one. Everybody on our team believed that we had what it took to win the National Championship,” said Meyer. “Everybody in that room believed and supported each other. This helped us to bounce back after losses throughout the year as well as when we had to win two straight games to make Nationals. We were a resilient team and that helped us to comeback against the Florida Eels and ultimately win it all.”
That is the type of mentality that Rivier is bringing into its own locker room, and Meyer hopes he can deliver for the Rivier Raiders. Rivier became an NCAA team in 2021-22 and has already seen improvement in year-over-year wins under Coach Keating.
“On the hockey side, the team is on the rise and I want to be part of that success. After meeting some people within the hockey program, it became clear to me that they were honest and passionate about hockey, which really intrigued me,” said Meyer, who lived in Nashua, N.H., where Rivier is located, during the season. The Cyclones are based in neighboring Hudson, N.H.
“What initially interested me about Rivier off the ice was the town of Nashua itself, because it was the same town I lived in during the year and I really enjoyed it. I also loved that it was a small Catholic school,” said Meyer. “After the National Tournament, my mom flew out to make the 23-hour drive back to Minnesota with me. She was able to visit Rivier with me before we left New Hampshire. The campus was small and very easy to navigate.This along with the passion the school has for hockey made the decision to commit very easy for me.”
Meyer will be spending time this off-season perusing the course catalog, looking for what best strikes his academic interests.
“As of right now I am not 100% sure [of a major], but Rivier has plenty of options so I am very fortunate,” he added.
Also during the off-season, Meyer will be spending time continuing to work on his game to be the best player he can be entering the NCAA hockey realm.
“Throughout the off-season, I am going to continue to work on tracking pucks through traffic since NCAA players are bigger and they play their systems well,” added Meyer.
He’ll also have a chance, when playing at Rivier, to catch some Northern Cyclones games now and again as they are so close. He’ll be wearing the Blue and Silver of Rivier, but will always bleed Crimson, White and Black as well.
“In my personal experience, I believe the Northern Cyclones organization is one of the best. Coach Bill Weiand, Fred Hein and goalie coach Joe Fallon are passionate coaches who want to win, but most importantly they want to develop and help players reach their goals,” said Meyer. “I very much respected the coaches’ honesty and how each player on the team was treated as a human and not just a number.”
This went beyond the scheduled times, as Meyer really liked the personal touch the Northern Cyclones brought to junior hockey.
“The coaches made themselves very available away from practice and games so if you ever wanted to set up a meeting to ask them questions you had about your game, schools, or just life in general they would take time out of their day to do so for every player on the team,” added Meyer. “They also worked extremely hard away from the rink to create college opportunities for players. They went the extra mile for us throughout the year. I believe this is a major reason every year the Cyclones organization gets their players to buy into the team-first mentality which leads to success on the ice and friendships made off the ice.”
During the season, Meyer reflected on his time working with Cyclones goalie coach Joe Fallon. Also a Minnesota native, Fallon went east for college hockey, playing four years with the University of Vermont. He then moved to a nine-year professional career that included time in the AHL, ECHL and a number of European leagues, and also included dressing for a game as a backup with the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him in 2005.
“I think the Cyclones goalie development model is great. We had the privilege of working with goalie coach Joe Fallon. He played professional hockey so he has a wealth of knowledge to offer us,” said Meyer. “He did not try to change too much about our game but helped us to build on our strengths. He also would watch all of our games on video and then design drills that would help us learn from our mistakes. This helped each of our goalies get better and better each game.”
Meyer ended up finishing in the top five league-wide with a goals against average of 1.78, and his .928 save percentage was in the top 20 across the Premier. The Nation’s Largest Junior Hockey League and its crown jewel event, the USPHL Nationals, also was a big help to give Meyer the stage on which to excel and attract NCAA attention.
“I think the USPHL Premier does a great job of marketing its players. Having multiple showcases throughout the year as well as the National tournament makes it very easy to get looks from many NCAA schools,” said Meyer. “Also, being able to play top teams at showcases and Nationals helps college coaches see us play against strong competition.”
The USPHL congratulates Mason Meyer, his family, the Northern Cyclones and Rivier University for his commitment.