This weekend proved to be the start of new beginnings, as sophomore Michael Garman saw his first moments of conference play this season. Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 made the executive decision to switch out senior goaltender Ben Scrivens, after he let in four goals within 26 minutes, for Garman. Finishing up the remainder of the game between the posts, Garman made 21 saves to keep the Red still in the game.
“It was a see if you can swim by throwing you in the waters, I guess. It makes a huge difference –– if the plays don’t go your way, you are really on your heels the rest of the night. Right away I was able to get confidence and get in the groove, and at that point you are just competing for your team. I was very happy with the way the start went and it carried over,” Garman said.
With only a few games remaining in the season and with Scrivens graduating at the end of the year, the Lynah Faithful have been wondering if Garman is up to the task of handling the net and the pressure that comes with the job. Despite not entering the ice under the most ideal circumstances, Garman was ready to demonstrate his hard work and talent.
“It was not an ideal situation to get into, but any situation you get, you try to make the best of it … you try and go in as if you were starting in the game,” Garman said.
Coming to the squad with excellent fundamentals and playing technically sound, Garman ranked Cornell as one of his top choices for hockey, for both the rich history of hockey and for the academics. Knowing that he could be called out to the ice in any game, at any moment, Garman has to continue to maintain a sharp mind during the game, which begins during practices.
“You treat every practice like a game and try and get better every day that you’re here. I’ve been trying to do that and I think it carries over to the game. I think I have progressed a lot in my own game, even though it doesn’t show up on the weekends, and I’m still very confident in my own abilities, and as soon as my opportunity comes, I will be able to have my own success,” Garman said.
In addition to blocking shots from his teammates during practice, Garman gingerly studies the videotapes after each workout and listens to not only the advice of Schafer, but also his mentor, Scrivens.
“I watch video every single day after practice. We tape our practices, so I watch them before I go home. I watch my movements and the specific, little technical aspects that I have just been working on. One hidden blessing in my situation here is that I am really able to work on my game, day in and day out, and focus on that. I pick something one week and work on it everyday in practice to get better.”
The three goalies –– Scrivens, Garman and freshman Omar Kanji –– have their own support system, in which they continue to bolster each other and provide assistance despite the competitive nature of the game.
“You never know how things are going to work out. It wasn’t ideal playing-wise, but I do believe that it will be for the best in the long run. I don’t think I could be a part of a better organization or a group of guys. I do believe I will be a better goalie because of it in the long run,” Garman said. “If it takes a couple extra years for you to get what you want, I think it will be worth it for me.”
Original Author: Jill Mendelsohn