Tormey Looks To Get Back To Winning Ways vs. Bemidji State
Sophomore net minder has struggled to find groove so far this season
by Dan Myers
Issue date: 11/2/06 Section: Mens Sports
The Minnesota State men's hockey team will look to get back on track this weekend as they face non-conference foe Bemidji State at Midwest Wireless Civic Center Friday and Saturday.
But perhaps more important than a pair of wins, finding a way to get their starting goalie's confidence back may be the team's first objective.
After a tough pair of games last weekend against North Dakota which saw the Mavericks allow 13 goals, sophomore net minder Dan Tormey knows he needs to play better if the Mavericks are to be successful this weekend and beyond.
"You just gotta go back to basics and what you know best," Tormey said. "I talked to Desi (MSU goalie coach Des Christopher) and we are just working on staying simple and being patient. Everything will piece itself back together."
Last season, Tormey was a pleasant surprise, winning 14 games and holding his save percentage above 90 percent while holding his goals against below three. All are fabulous numbers for a first-year goalie, as Tormey was rewarded by being named to the WCHA All-Rookie first team.
This season has been different, however, as Tormey's save percentage is hovering around 84 percent while his goals against is north of four. Tormey is not easily flappable and has responded with a good week of practice thus far.
"He's worked hard, but he always works hard," said MSU head coach Troy Jutting. "He is a good goalie, but I know he has been fighting the puck a little bit. He needs to get back in his comfort zone."
A non-conference series against struggling BSU may be just what the doctor ordered. After being swept by No. 1 Maine to start their season, the Beavers won a pair of exhibitions against Regina before earning just one point last weekend against Niagara.
The Beavers are also struggling in net, as head coach Tom Serratore will start junior Matt Climie Friday and another junior, Orlando Alamano Saturday. Climie has allowed 11 goals in three games this season and Alamano will make his first official collegiate start when he takes the ice Saturday. To his credit, he did shut out Regina 2-0 in their first exhibition two weeks ago.
"He played well in that exhibition and he has earned a good chance on the road," Serratore said.
Adding to the intrigue this weekend is the battle between the team's two head coaches. Jutting and Serratore were college roommates at MSU in the mid-80s, before Serratore transferred to BSU following his sophomore season. Both downplay any personal rivalry regarding the match-up.
"We are in our 40s now, the game is played by the players," Serratore said. "I don't think there is bragging rights, we don't usually talk about the games we play against each other."
"Do I want to win? Yeah I do," Jutting said. "He is one of my best friends in hockey and in life, so in terms of a personal rivalry, no, there isn't one."
If for no other reason, one coach may have additional ammunition on the golf course next summer. Which coach will be decided this weekend, as the Beavers and Mavericks take to the ice at 7:37 p.m. Friday, before moving to a 7:07 p.m. start time Saturday. Pre- and post-game ceremonies Saturday will honor Anthony Ford, the nine-year old boy who passed away in April following a battle with leukemia. Ford, a close friend of many on both MSU hockey teams, will have his favorite number (99) permanently retired. A banner honoring his memory will also be unveiled inside the Civic Center.
Dan Myers is the Reporter Sports Editor