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Sentry Neckguard

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I received a free Sentry Neckguard for review purposes.  For background purposes, I have had a standard Vaughn when I first got started, a Maltese, Maltese Reiterspec, PAW, and currently have an EcoProFoam (EPF) and a Roughneck (RN).  I briefly owned a Battram as well.  I've done a comparative review of most of the others in another post.  

In my categorization, there are two types of neckguards -- the Maltese and the Vaughn.  The EPF and RN are Maltese types and the PAW is a Vaughn type.  Loosely speaking, a Maltese type is foam only and tends to be lighter than the Vaughn type which has plastic reinforcement.  

The Sentry neckguard I received is a prototype that was used for testing the durability in washing machines.  It is not the model currently for sale.  My impressions are that it is lighter than either the EPF or RN, although I don't have a scale to weigh it.  But it's noticeably lighter.  I would have liked the collar to be higher (it is 1.5") but they do make a 2" collar which would be my preference.

I don't routinely get hit in the throat, so I did my own taste testing.  Kids, don't try this at home.  Basically, I put the various neckguards on my hand or thigh and hit it with a hammer.  I may have been hit in the head a few too many times with pucks.

I acknowledge this is not scientific.  I did my best to hit with the same force.  My impressions (again, just impressions) were that the EPF and RN (particularly the RN) did a slightly better job at protecting from the impact of the hammer.  I attribute that to the layer of HD foam that both have.  If the Sentry were to add that layer, I think it would greatly improve the protection without a significant increase in the weight.

Note also that I couldn't find my mallet, so by using a hammer I'm also using something with a strike point that is smaller than a puck.  Not sure if that makes a difference, other than that I can only type this review with one hand.  I kid, I kid.

In terms of comfort, the Sentry is the most comfortable of the bunch.  You don't know that it's there.  Again, even adding a layer of HD foam shouldn't affect that much at all.

The fabric covering the guard seems to be a bit more durable than the Spandex on the EPF and RN.  On my EPF, the spandex is so tight that it distorts the color, fading it from red to orange in several places.  

All told, with slight tweaks, the Sentry could be the best one out there if it can balance comfort and protection.  It's good to have options out there and the demise of Maltese seems to be a boon for goalies who like choices.  

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