Senior goaltender Todd Marr came to Cornell. Before that he attended Northeastern. In between, however, he sharpened his skills with the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks. While Marr is happy to be with the Red now, he wouldn’t trade his experiences with Waterloo, especially not after the lessons he’s learned.
It was late in the game and the Blackhawks were down. Marr, spotted the rolling puck as it came towards his end of the ice, left the net and followed it into the corner. Spinning to play the puck back to his scrambling teammates, Marr slapped at it with his stick. The hit was awkward, the defense was on top of him, and the result was a goal on his empty net.
“It was really the nail in the coffin for that game. It was probably the worst goal I’ve ever given up in my life,” Marr said. “The next two games I was definitely a little more apprehensive.”
Still, Marr remembers the worst part was letting down the fans.
“All of a sudden you hear three thousand fans go ‘uh,'” said Marr, taking in a slight breath as he mimicked the crowd. “It was brutal.”
After playing the game since he was five, spending time in net at the high school and juniors levels, and sitting on the bench getting a first hand lesson from two of the best collegiate goaltenders in the United States, Marr feels he’s ready to step up and be Cornell’s 2003-04 starting goaltender.
“Being able to watch Dave and Matt Underhill the last two years really helped out,” Marr said. “Also, the goaltending coach Brett Brekke has really helped out a lot in terms of tweaking my game. They’ve had great criticisms and they’re always out there trying to help you out and they have great ideas for improvements. I think they’ve really helped me out since I came here.”
Still, he knows that while the season starts tonight, there’s still work to be done. The job is still Marr’s to win or lose, with sophomore Louis Chabot and freshman David McKee working hard behind him.
“I think all three of us are pushing each other really well,” he said. “We have a very good chemistry in terms of hard working, not only in the weight room but also on the ice. All three of us are very comfortable. The position’s wide open, and we’re pushing each other and every day we’re really getting better. I want to play, they want to play, so everyone’s working really hard. The spots wide open, and we all know that.”
While the spot may be wide open, Marr is still the only one with experience. Last season, during David LeNeveu’s ’05 absence, he kept the Red within striking distance of then No. 2 Maine and Ohio State. More impressive is the feat Marr accomplished in New York’s North Country, leading Cornell to it’s first away sweep of Clarkson and St. Lawrence in several seasons.
While Marr learned first-hand what it took to backstop a Division-I powerhouse, he also learned something about his teammates — mainly how hard they work.
“Those were really my first games of college hockey, so it was very exciting at the time,” recalled Marr. “It was nice to see the hard work pay off, but what really stuck out was the hard work from the guys in front of me. The guys just played really great defensively in front of me and made my job really easy.”
But after his stint in net for Cornell, Marr realized there were still improvements to be made. With this in mind, he stayed in Ithaca this summer to lift and work on his technique.
“I still didn’t know if Dave was going to leave yet or not, and if he did, I didn’t want to leave any chance of not having stayed here and working out,” Marr said. “I really felt that staying here really prepared me for the season.”
Only time will tell.
Archived article by Matt Janiga