From the operation table to one of the best in Division-III

Buffalo State's Ian Sylves shining on the ice

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - When you watch Ian Sylves on the ice, you notice he's quick and observant.

What you don't see is everything he's gone through to get to this point.

"A long, very long process," Sylves said.

Sylves joined the Buffalo State men's ice hockey team a few years ago but in January and March of last year, he had to have two hip surgeries.

Not knowing how it would impact his playing career was hard.

"At the end of the day, you really don't know," he said. "All you know is that you can put in the work each day and hopefully it'll all take care of itself and that's what happened."

He's now a starter who's at the top of his game.

He already holds one school record and is on pace for two more by the end of the season.

"There are a couple guys who I've played with here and have been amazing goalies and it's humbling to be included with that group of guys."

That's not all. Just days ago, Sylves ranked in the top three nationally among all Division-III goalies in shutouts, goals against average and save percentage.

Some of those rankings dropped a little bit when the stats were updated, but it's still incredible to have been sitting at or near the top of the league.

"I think the numbers through this point are maybe a little surprising even for myself but he's been a big part of our team for four years," said head coach Steve Murphy. "He's one of those kids you root for because he's such a good kid and he works so hard so it's good to see him having success."

The Bengals are 15-4-2 overall and with their most recent win secured a playoff spot but as the playoffs approach, it also means Sylve’s time on the ice continues to dwindle down.

All he can do now is savor these next few weeks and whatever lies ahead.

"Just trying to embrace these moments and the time with I have with these guys while I'm still here," Sylves said.

Buffalo State will hit the ice again this weekend for their final home games of the season.

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