Punisher Goalie Posted October 1, 2017 Share Posted October 1, 2017 There is probably already a thread for this and there are certainly other reviews out there, but I just got my new Maltese GPS Combo and thought I’d throw up a quick review. Previous neck guards: In my very short goaltending career, I’ve gone through 3 Vaughn units - VPC 7000, VPC 8000, and XF Pro Carbon. Of the three, the XF was my go-to as it is the lightest and has the lowest collar height. The 8000 collar is soft and light but its mega-hot and was felt like it was choking me. The 7000 felt very similar to the XF but is taller and interfered with my head movement. Frankly, I could have stuck with the XF and been fine, but I read so many wonderful reviews of the Maltese unit and I wanted to give myself max protection in that area. Without belaboring the point, I have tried danglers and they won’t work for me. I may try adding one back in soon, but not until I at least lock in a mask/neck combo that I am happy with. Specs and Ordering: My unit is pretty basic - black with white graphics, 14” neck size, 1.5” collar height. No custom options. The “dip” is not available at 1.5” overall height otherwise I would have gotten that. Even still, its a made-to-order product with a delivery estimate of 6-8 weeks. I knew this going in, so I wasn’t too surprised to get no emails or updates (even if you check the order status on their site it just says “Processing”) until I got an alert from UPS that a package was on its way from Maltese in the 7th week since I ordered. No complaints here - they delivered exactly what they said when they said they would (10/10). Initial Impressions: I’m going to be perfectly honest here - when I first opened the package and pulled the unit out of plastic (very well-packaged by the way), I said “Shit.” I am a bit weight-obsessed and it felt extremely heavy to me in my hands. On the scale, my unit weighs 213 grams compared to 126 grams for the XF Pro Carbon. Much more on this below. In terms of other initial impressions, the build quality was simply perfect. I do a lot of DIY and sewing so I was really impressed with the build materials and workmanship. The surge stitching looks really solid. Good quality hook-and-loop, too, which no one should take for granted. I was also pleasantly surprised by the graphics, a small, simple sublimated “Maltese” in the lower corner, as opposed to a larger graphic in the center (pictures below). I prefer this understated look. No bulky over-sewn embroidery. Another thing I wasn’t expecting, the Maltese gel is perforated, I assume to improve the weight and ventilation. Tried to take a picture below with the light shining through so you all can see the small holes. They are in the clavicle piece and the collar. Performance: I expected to be disappointed with my first skate due to the weight difference. I could not have been more wrong. First of all, the Maltese unit, especially in the clavicle area, feels like to conforms to your body shape. In comparison to the XF Pro and the VPC 7000, those units feel like a piece of stiff cardboard floating on top of your chest and it feels like it actually requires your C/A unit to hold it down. The Maltese unit (perhaps due to the weight) feels more like a shirt that keeps itself in place perfectly. Even though the collar piece is slightly thicker than the XF Pro, it also feels like it conforms better to my neck (although I wear it somewhat loosely) and definitely does not choke me at all. No interference with my mask (Sportmask Mage RS; also tried with a CCM Pro). Out on the ice my concerns about the weight completely disappeared. In fact (and I know this is cliche) the unit felt like it disappeared completely. Even though a bit heavier, I think the significant improvement in comfort is due to a combination of better fit, more flexible material, better ventilation, and the “cool touch” properties of the Maltese gel. As most of you know, the impact of weight is also relative to the location of the additional weight. 100 additional grams at your chest will have a completely different perceived effect than 100 additional grams in your hands or your feet. MOI at work. I can 100% honestly say I experienced no negative change from ther additional weight and due to all the other factors I mentioned, I experienced an overall performance improvement, all things considered (10/10). Protection: So it has actually been several months since I took a shot to the neck/clavicle area. But as you all know, somehow the puck always finds that new piece of gear. My very first skate, I took two hard shots to the clavicle area. The first was a straight-away slap shot from the top of the circle that impacted the Maltese unit directly. The second was a harder snap shot from a better player on a weird play where is glanced off my blocker and deflected to my neck, striking almost exactly the spot where the C/A and the Maltese unit meet. On the first one, I felt a general impact similar to any other part of my C/A. No pain. Second one I heard it and felt enough to know where I got hit, but no pain at all. In all honesty I don’t have much to compare these to since the prior times I took pucks to the neck, I was wearing a dangler only and no neck guard. All I can say is that I have had some fear/hesitation with other units not knowing if I’d be protected, now I have none. (10/10) Overall: Maltese delivered exactly what I ordered, when they said it would be delivered, and the fit/finish and performance exceeded my expectations, even having read all the positive reviews out there on various websites. At this point, I give it an overall 10/10 and would strongly encourage anyone in the market for a neck protector to consider this unit. If you can wait the 6-8 months and can take a leap of faith on the weight, you will be rewarded. I plan to continue to skate with this unit and update the thread with my experiences. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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