West Xtra: Defenseman is giving it his all for Montour

HOCKEY

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At 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, Montour's Sean Siegel doesn't look like an imposing figure on the ice.

But as many opponents have discovered, size can be deceiving.

"You wouldn't think someone of his size could hit so hard," Montour coach Dustin Kerr said. "But when hits someone, it's pretty devastating."

Siegel leads Montour in hits and penalty minutes this season. He has earned the respect of PIHL coaches as well, who rewarded this junior defenseman with a spot on the Class AA Southwest Conference All-Star team.

"I'm pretty happy about it," Siegel said. "I thought they would select [goaltender] Brandon Heitzenrater as our team's pick for the game because he has been so big keeping us in games. But I'm so excited that I'll get to play in the game."

Siegel grew up watching his two older brothers, Aaron and Justin, play hockey. They both were part of the Montour hockey team in the mid-to-late 2000s.

Siegel said he tagged along to play with older brothers from time to time, and playing with much bigger and older competition has helped Siegel become fearless on the ice.

Instead, he is putting the fear into the opposing players coming into the Spartans' zone.

"One of my traits is making the big open-ice hits," Siegel said. "I'll catch someone with their head down and make the big hit."

Siegel has also been an important presence for Montour in the locker room. Kerr said Siegel, who is an alternate captain, is the most vocal player on the team.

A junior, he has had to try to keep the team's spirits up as it continues to look for its first win of the season.

"You have to let the guys understand that in any game, any team can beat anyone," Siegel said. "We've been close a few times, but our depth would become an issue and the other team would pull away late in games. We just have to keep pushing."

Montour has only 13 or 14 skaters for most games, a low number for a Class AA team. In addition to depth issues, the team's offense has been non-existent for most of the season, with only eight goals in 14 games.

That has kept Siegel's offensive numbers down. He has just two points this season, despite being a very good two-way player, according to Kerr.

"He's a very good all-around defenseman," Kerr said. "We haven't scored much, but most of the offense we have been able to generate is when he steps up into the attack. He sees the ice well and is a pretty good puck-handler."

While this season has been trying for Montour (0-14), the future might be brighter. Siegel and the entire Montour defense is expected to return intact next season, along with Heintzenrater. The team's depth could also improve with an influx of players from the junior varsity and freshman squads.

"You go through these years where you have to rebuild," Siegel said. "We have a lot of talent, but our lack of depth has hurt us. Most of that talent will be returning and we'll have some younger guys who should come up and help out a lot next year."

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