WALLINGFORD — Ask Sheehan hockey goalie Tyler Robertson his thoughts on his team’s tendencies — say, it’s penalty habits — and he will give you an introspective number that seems to have come from a professional statistician’s book.
“I love stats,” said Robertson following his team’s 10-1 win over Wilton at Choate on Monday night. “I’ll do the stats like points, blocked shots — the simple stats for the team, and I’ll do some more advanced stats for myself.”
“He’s found a great niche,” said Sheehan head coach Dave Festa. “It’s something that is interesting and engaging for him.”
Before Monday’s game, Robertson met with Festa in the Sheehan coach’s office. They went over things like the Titans’ tendency to take 68 percent of their penalties in the offensive zone, Wilton’s leading scorers and points of emphasis in the visitor team’s strategy.
“We’ve been using them a little bit more and more,” said Festa. “We’ve been taking a look and seeing what kind of stats he is getting and seeing how those are playing out with the teams. As he is growing in his credibility, in terms of the stats, it is being more and more used.”
Roberton’s “hobby” is one he takes his time on.
“On game day, it usually takes 2-3 hours putting together a sheet for the coach’s and a power play for the players,” said Robertson. “Running over plays for the whiteboard in the locker room before the game: Whatever the team needs to prepare.”
The stat sheet Robertson generates is quite in-depth.
“It includes their key players, breakout, forecheck, power play, key points that we can win, or lose, what we need to look out for, their goalie. Stuff like that,” said Robertson.
“At first the kids were, I don’t want to say skeptical, but they were looking and listening to him, and as things started to come together and what he was saying was happening with the other teams and their tendencies, they started to grow much more trust in him and take notice,” said Festa.
Festa sees Robertson’s interest in stats as an advantage and one he plans on using.
“It’s another set of eyes,” said Festa. “It’s a useful tool for us.”
Robertson’s itch for stats requires him to watch a lot of film on opposing teams. When Robertson isn’t playing or practicing, he is probably watching another high school team.
“I’ll probably go to a game or two, depending on who is playing and time options,” said Robertson. “I’m probably watching another 9-12 games a week on LiveBarn.”
Robertson’s love for stats was born from the love of a certain NHL team and the scouting process it goes through on a day-to-day basis.
“I probably got into stats because of the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Robertson. “I’m a big Twitter guy. I follow their analysts and it really got me into it. If they can do it, I can do it.”
A junior, Robertson hopes to one day be like those analysts and parlay his love for numbers and statistics into his love for sports — more specifically, hockey.
“I hope I have a future being an analyst,” said Robertson. “I want to go to school for statistics. I want to go into sports. I would love to do that.”
Festa feels that Robertson’s dedication to the stats and preparing the team speaks to his character as a teammate and a player.
“One of the things is that he talks about hockey year round,” said Festa. “Obviously, seeing his leadership and his quiet confidence in the net is a building block for the team.”
Be it with his analytics or his goaltending, Robertson had played a major role in Sheehan’s run to 11-2, which has the Titans ranked No. 6 in the state’s Division III playoff rankings. They take on Masuk at The Rinks at Shelton on Saturday at 8:50 p.m. and host Daniel Hand at Choate on Sunday at 7 p.m.