NCAA Frozen Four
Gets the Call
Ohio – Goaltending platoons can work. The University of
Denver has proven that much so far this season. Glenn Fisher,
a sophomore from Edmonton, and Peter Mannino, a freshman from
Farmington Hills, Mich., have shared the goaltending duties and
helped lead the Pioneers to the Frozen Four.
goalie pattern continued through the most vital weekend of the
regular season, the WCHA playoffs, and the NCAA Northeast Regional.
But it remained to be seen whether that pattern would hold when
the Pioneers take the ice on Thursday. It's Fisher's turn to start,
but Mannino has had incredible success against Colorado College.
That left the Denver coaching staff with a dilemma.
If you believe
in patterns and habit, the choice is easy in favor of Fisher.
If you tend to favor statistics and matchups, Mannino's the guy.
George Gwozdecky and the staff weighed a number of factors and
decided to go with Mannino as the starting goalie in Thursday's
national semifinal (2 p.m., ESPN2).
all three of Denver's wins against Colorado College and posted
shutouts in the two most recent meetings. In DU's two losses against
CC, Fisher was the starting goalie.
make Mannino seem like an easy choice, but it doesn't tell the
skaters this season, have performed better on the second night
of a series," Gwozdecky said. "That's been fairly consistent
throughout the season."
It sets up
a chicken-egg argument. Were Mannino's better numbers a reflection
of his team's excellent play on Saturdays? Or did the team play
better because of higher confidence in the freshman backstop?
to Gwozdecky, he believes the former is true.
was not lost on us. It was something, in fact, that I spoke about
quite a bit this year. With all due respect to Peter and how well
he has played, there's no question that the majority of the games
that we have played very effectively have been played the second
night of the series," he said.
are supported by the team's record when Mannino starts to begin
a weekend. He's done so twice, and DU lost both games, 6-2 on
Oct. 15 at Boston College and 5-4 on Nov. 13 against Minnesota.
the Colorado College dressing room think differently.
seem like they do play a little tougher in front of Mannino. It
doesn't seem like we get as many shots on them," Tiger junior
forward Aaron Slattengren said.
At all levels
of hockey, the word that's thrown around most when discussing
a team's or player's success is confidence. It's that confidence
that makes Denver a better team when Mannino is backstopping the
Pioneers. It's that lack of confidence that comes when a netminder
has blanked your team for seven straight periods and more than
143 minutes of hockey that Colorado College will have to overcome.
has had tremendous success against us the previous two times we've
played, over six periods of shutout hockey," senior forward
Scott Polaski said. "That's a little bit of a concern but
I don't think we're too worried about it because it doesn't really
matter. We can't choose who the goalie is."
game will provide a definite answer to the chicken-egg argument,
as Mannino gets the first start of the weekend for the first time
since mid-November. Throwing away matchups and trends, the choice
was ultimately based on which goalie gives Denver the best chance
to beat Colorado College, and the Pioneers have chosen Peter Mannino.