November 2, 2001

The Backups

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Freshman netminder David LeNeveu raised many eyebrows when he signed with Cornell. A standout on the Under-18 national team in Canada, the stalwart was coveted by top programs throughout North America — including a certain school in Cambridge, Mass.

“I did go to visit the Harvard campus. I thought Cornell had better hockey to tell you the truth,” he said, reasoning his decision to come to East Hill.

And with enthusiasm like that it’s hard not to be excited about the prospects of LeNeveu.

He comes with credentials that substantiate the optimism in his potential — having been dubbed one of the top 30 goalies in North America by the Central Scouting Service.

LeNeveu certainly has been perfecting his trade long enough.

“My parents put me in hockey when I was about two. Obviously I am a Canadian boy and I just grew up around the sport and I grew to love it,” he recalled.

With the rather abrupt departure of back up Chris Gartman in the offseason, head coach Mike Schafer ’86 was in need of another netminder to round out his trio (which also includes senior Matt Underhill). Sophomore transfer Todd Marr has assumed that role, defecting from Northeastern to join the Red. Due to eligibility regulations, however, Marr will be unable to do much more than practice for the Red. NCAA statutes prevent him from traveling with the team or seeing game action until January.

Both netminders savor the chance to start their Cornell careers under the mentorship of a standout goalie like Underhill who posted the third best goals against average (1.88) in the nation last season.

“[Underhill] is the hardest worker on the team. Just being able to play behind him in practice and use him as a role model to get started with my first year in college is a great opportunity for me and I just have to take advantage of it,” LeNeveu said.

Marr echoed his teammate’s sentiments: “It’s a great experience. I’m sort of learning off him. He’s a good guy to bounce ideas off. He’s really easy to talk to,” he added.

Schafer sees the relationship between the elder mentor and the younger protegees as mutually beneficial, noting the competition between LeNeveu and Underhill for playing time will enhance the quality of the senior’s game.

“You get the best of Matt when he competes for a job. No question Matt has deserved the label as No. 1 goaltender, but he also knows he needs to work hard day in and day

out,” Schafer said.

Nonetheless LeNeveu will undoubtedly receive significant playing time this year.

“He’s going to get his games through the season,” Schafer predicted. And with Underhill’s graduation looming, LeNeveu will savor any chance he can to gain experience before he likely assumes the starting duties next season.

“I just want to improve as a goaltender and see how many games I can get in this year to provide me experience for when I have to step in next year,” LeNeveu stated.

working hard all season, I believe our skill level will take us over the stop.”


Archived article by Gary Schueller