Tyler Sifferlen would love to say that he was stoic, poised and extraordinarily calm as his Malden Catholic Lancers prepared to play St. John’s Prep in the Super 8 finals at the TD Garden Sunday.
But the truth is that the freshman forward and North Andover resident was more nervous than he’d ever been.
“I don’t usually get tight before games, but I was definitely feeling pretty nervous,” Sifferlen said. “It was the biggest game I’ve ever played in, so I could feel the pressure.”
But whatever butterflies he was experiencing before the game certainly went away when Sifferlen scored a game-tying goal for the Lancers in the second period.
Trailing 1-0, the North Andover native fired a shot that, for a moment, he didn’t know went in.
“At first, I wasn’t sure,” Sifferlen said. “Then, my teammates started coming after me and hugging me. It was awesome scoring as a freshman, and being on a team with them. Scoring in the Garden as a freshman was unbelievable.”
Malden Catholic went on to beat St. John’s Prep in dramatic fashion, battling back from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime and win in extra time, 4-3.
With three years left to play as a scholastic athlete, Sifferlen said it’d be tough to top that championship. But that doesn’t mean he and his teammates won’t try.
“We actually have some really good younger players, and I think after you win one, you want to win another one,” said Sifferlen, whose older brother, Ryan, was an All-Star hockey player for North Andover High School. “Maybe, we can win a couple more.”
Sifferlen said he’s willing to commit to the necessary hard work to make sure that happens. And, if he lets up, he’ll have a couple of trusted advisors in his corner to make sure he follows through on that goal.
“My parents (Patricia and Brian) and my grandfather (North Andover resident Maurice Lynch) have always been there for me,” Sifferlen said. “Especially my grandfather. I know he’s really proud of me, so I want to make sure I don’t let him down.”
Though he grew up playing baseball, he plans to drop that sport this spring in order to focus on hockey. Already a physical player with pretty good size, Sifferlen said he’d like to work on his puck handling skills, speed and strength during the off-season.
“If I had to compare myself to someone, I guess I’m like (Boston Bruins left winger) Milan Lucic,” Sifferlen said. “I think I’ll be more of a goal scorer as I play more, but right now my physicality is my biggest strength.”
He also has a penchant for scoring clutch goals.
Outside of the one he scored in the Super 8 finals on Sunday, Sifferlen notched two goals against Catholic Memorial earlier this season to erase a 2-0 deficit, and spark a 7-3 Lancer win.
“I don’t know if I’m more clutch than anyone else, but I don’t get too worked up in tight situations either,” Sifferlen said. “I just try to stay calm.”
Of course, there’s one thing that would probably give him butterflies again.
A lifelong North Andover resident, Sifferlen has grown up a Merrimack College hockey fan, and said he loves the Hockey East as a whole. If, a couple of years from now, he landed an offer to play for one of those teams, Sifferlen admitted that it would be tough to keep his composure.
“That would definitely be a dream come true,” Sifferlen said. “But I have a long way to go before then.”