Liam put up 5G – 6A in 48 games during his rookie campaign to go along with 145 PIMs. He is looking to build on that coming into this season and has been hard at work this offseason in preparation. Every morning Stirtzinger would run two miles to his local gym for a session with his personal trainer before another two mile run home. He was on the ice two to three times a week, often in twice weekly games with local NCAA Div I and pro players.
“I think this year as a second year player in the league it’s time to buckle down. Last year I got to feel it out and now I know what it takes,” said Stirtzinger. “The mistakes I made last year can’t happen this year because all of us vets need to take the rookies under our wings and show them the ropes to be most successful.” Last season Liam looked up to the 20 year old players on the team. He knows that this season the Brahmas will have a good core of veterans who the rookies will be looking to for leadership. “This year with Roman and Vidmar up front and Moose and Alexey back on defense, we are all hungry to win a Robertson cup and I have a good feeling about this group that we can do it. It’s every hockey players dream to win a national championship and we have a good shot at it this year.”
Last season Liam played a very in your face style as evidenced by the penalty minutes he racked up. He says to expect things to be slightly different this season. “Last year was a year that I knew guys were gonna want to fight me because I’m big and ran my mouth, but I’m staying away from that this year and just going to play my game. And that is being an offensive threat as a power forward.” he said. “I feel last year it threw me off my game by having everyone gunning for me in a negative way. It’s not usually my style, but last year is last year and things will be a little different this time around.”
In the past, Stirtzinger was a point plus per game scorer and he has set a goal of getting back to that level. “Offensively as a second year player I want to have 50 points this season. It’s time to take it to the next level,” he explained. “It’s not going to be easy but it’s something I need to work for and I’m determined to do it.” If he can reach that goal it will help him reach his ultimate goal of earning an NCAA Div I scholarship.
Liam’s view of the Main Camp is that the games are pretty fast and competitive. He is very upbeat about what he has seen so far from the veterans in camp, “(Hogan) Davidson looks good, still being the gritty hard working player that he is. He took a stick to the face in the first game and didn’t miss a shift.”
Liam is high on the Brahmas’ goaltending. The first game Stirtzinger played, TJ Black was in net. “He stood on his head and didn’t give up a goal the half that he played. We are very fortunate to have a goaltender of TJ’s caliber,” He continued to heap praise on Black. “He is the best goalie in the league I believe and I’m glad I’m playing with him not against him.” He also likes what he has seen from Jett Salinas. “Jett is on my team and he looks good in the pipes.”
Stirtzinger is playing on a line with sixth round draft pick Nick Ford and says he seems like he will fit in just fine. Two that stood out on the blue line were third round draft pick Caleb Thompson and tender Hayden Hansen. Liam thought both are really good overall defensemen and said tender Bud Madej is also looking solid on the point.
“Compared to last season’s team it looks like we are going to bigger and tougher,” and that is exactly the style that Head Coach Dan Wildfong preaches. His mantra to the team is to be tough to play against. “I think this year teams are going to have to battle us for every point in the standings, not only will we be big we will we big and skilled and a hard working team.” If Stirtzinger’s assessment is correct, fans at the NyTex Sprots Centre will have a lot to cheer about this season.