With Hobey Baker Finalist David LeNeveu ’05 long gone on his fast track to the NHL, every Cornell hockey fan finds themselves asking two burning questions: Who will take his place? And how well will he do so? Head coach Mike Schafer ’86 is quick to offer his perspective on the issue.
“Many people on this campus right now remember a guy by the name of Matt Underhill ’02, who was a great goaltender for us. But freshmen and sophomores don’t even know who he is. They just know David,” he said. “That’s the challenge for these new guys is to make the Lynah Faithful forget about the Dave LeNeveus and Doug Murrays.”
A tall order — but one a trio of goalies will be called upon to fulfill this season.
Senior Todd Marr is the only truly game-tested goalie on the roster and seems the obvious choice as the current front-runner in the pack.
When LeNeveu left the team over Winter Break to play with Team Canada last season, Marr was called upon to assume his role in net for four games. Going 2-2 against some of the Red’s toughest competition, Marr posted a .932 save percentage and a 1.76 goals per game mark.
The four-game stretch allowed Marr to display his long-hidden talents between the pipes to the public and to his coaches. The opportunity included, most notably, an eye-opening 22-save performance against Ohio State at the Everblades Classic in Florida.
“Todd, right now, is the only guy that’s proven himself on the Division I level,” said Schafer. “He’s capable of stepping in and filling that spot, and we know that because we’ve seen it.”
Freshman David McKee will likely provide Marr with his greatest competition early in the season. McKee’s most outstanding performance came last weekend when he was able to shut out the U.S. Under-18 Team for an entire period and a half of play.
McKee joins the Red after most recently playing for the NAHL’s Texas Tornado. While at Texas, McKee went 27-6-0 earning First Team and All-Rookie honors in just his first year of major junior hockey competition. During one stretch in the highly accomplished season, McKee went 6-0-0, earning Goaltender of the Month honors in the 20-team league.
“David, each day, is getting better and we’re confident that he’ll continue that process and become a great goaltender for us,” said Schafer.
The final member of the trio is sophomore Louis Chabot who saw extremely limited action for the Red a year ago, but could challenge for more minutes this season.
Chabot’s most recent work came in his final season with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. In his only season with the team, he posted a 2.43 GAA and earned a lofty 25-2 record that included two shutouts.
“Louis continues to develop, but needs to polish his skills a bit. He needs to control rebounds, and do the little things that have always made our goaltenders successful here,” said Schafer.
The issue of a possible rotation — something the Red did two seasons ago with LeNeveu and Underhill — is not a decision Schafer feels is his own to make.
“It’s up to them to sort it out,” he said. “If one guy separates himself from the pack, it’ll be one guy. It could be two guys, three guys, who knows? One of them needs to show us that he’s the guy. That’s what we’re looking for.”
“Are they going to be David? No,” he concluded. “We expect them to produce, and somehow for this program, that’s always happened.”
Archived article by Scott Jones