Austin Reardon: Scoring a Tournament Slot in his Final Year

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
March, 2019
Article Body: 

Like so many high school athletes, a parent or sibling was often a role model for having played a specific sport. Norwood’s Austin Reardon’s father was a high school and college ice hockey goalie, and eventually became a big influence in his son’s athletic life.
“When I first started playing goalie, my dad was very supportive of my decision,” Reardon said. “When I was younger, I really didn’t understand the goalie position all that well; all I knew that it was the last line of defense on the ice and that intrigued me.”
Reardon began playing hockey for the Norwood Youth Hockey Program before moving onto the Boston Advantage out of Hingham, the Lovell Knights (Raynham), and finally the Walpole Express. Now he’s the starting goalie for Norwood High School, and although he had been playing the position for many years, he found the high school tryouts very intimidating.
“As a freshman trying out for the high school team it was very daunting,” Reardon said. “It was a whole different experience to be playing high school hockey. I knew that if I got nervous and started to freak out during those tryouts that I wouldn’t do my best. I just had to step aside, breathe and go out and play my game.”
Despite making the varsity squad as a freshman, Norwood had two senior net minders ahead of Reardon. The young goalie would have to bide his time and earn the coaches respect to receive some playing time. With the Mustangs struggling on the ice, Reardon eventually got his chance with a game time decision by then coach Bill Clifford.
“It was a rush, but skating onto the ice I noticed there were a ton of fans at the arena and my nerves started to kick in,” Reardon said. “I was having a minor anxiety attack, but if I got too nervous I wouldn’t be able to play well; so I settled myself down.”
Reardon can’t remember too much else about that game outside the fact that the Mustangs lost. In fact, the team went a dismal 0-19-1 that campaign with a lot of athletes not all that invested in the season.
Once the senior goalies graduated Reardon had a good chance of securing the starting position despite two other sophomores, including a transfer athlete, competing for the covenant spot. To secure his position, Reardon had to go out and show the new coaching staff what he was capable of while keeping the puck out of the net.
The young sophomore did just that as Norwood came within one point of earning a spot in the state tournament that year. The Mustangs and Reardon made it into the Division 2 South Tournament last winter where they defeated Southeastern 3-2 in overtime before falling to Medfield 3-0 in the Quarterfinals.
This season, Norwood has been backboned once again by Reardon and looking to get into the tournament once again.
“We have a lot of seniors mixed with some younger talented athletes coming into this year,” Reardon said. “I knew that we had to do something early, but it took us a while to mesh together. We’ve had a lot of ties early on, but we were able to go undefeated in January and qualify for a spot in the tournament.”
Chuck Grant took over the coaching duties three years ago and has been not only supportive but impressed with Reardon’s play between the pipes.
“On and off the ice he’s a much respected individual,” Grant said. “He leads by example and is a great young adult. On the ice, the team can go out and play their game knowing that they have a great goaltender in Austin behind them. If anything should happen, he’ll be there to have their backs, that’s a great comfort for a team playing in front of him.”
Having been the starter under Coach Allen for the past three years, Reardon has been putting up some phenomenal numbers in his senior campaign. Through the first 14 games he has allowed only 20 goals, recording two shutouts, while his goals against average is 1.5. In the team’s last 11 contests, Reardon has guided the team to an impressive 11-0-4 record and into the tournament.
When Norwood’s final game comes to an end, so will Reardon’s career with the Mustangs. However, the senior captain is hoping that he can continue to play hockey in some capacity once he gets to college.
“Definitely, 100%, I’m hoping to play hockey on the next level,” the Norwood goaltender said. “I have no offers at the moment, but I am willing to do anything to continue to play hockey, I love the sport. I’ll walk on and try to earn a spot on the team, but if that doesn’t happen I’ll play club hockey.”
College hockey may or may not come for another ten months, but for the time being Reardon is looking to stay laser focused between the pipes for the Mustangs and guide Norwood deep into the playoffs as a salute to his final high school season.