As the final line of defense against opposing offenses, Andy Iles plays a crucial role in Cornell Hockey’s recipe for success. Goalies influence the outcome of each and every game, and therefore have great opportunity and responsibility to the rest of the team . Iles relishes the competition and enjoys fighting for victory with his teammates.
“I’m a competitive guy and I love playing and I always want to be out there,” he said. “It’s not like a wear-and-tear on me. It’s fun, and I love being out there with the guys and going to battle every single night, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In tight contests with high-pressure finishes, where one goal or one save could decide the outcome, Iles’ role seems even bigger. He enjoys those nail-biters more than easy, lopsided games.
“It’s a lot easier to play in games when they’re blow-outs, but its fun to play in close games, and as a competitive athlete those are the types of games you want to play in,” he said. “For a team, especially early on in the season, those are the games you want to play in. Because when its crunch time and your pushing for championships at the end of the year, you’re not playing in blow-outs. You’re playing in close games. So to establish a culture and a certain way of playing in those games early in the season can really pay dividends at the end of the year.
Iles has had a strong start to the 2012-13 season. He shut out Colorado College in the third game of the season and was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for that week of play. He made 44 saves in the Red’s first road victory of the season, a 3-1 victory over Colgate.
Iles is a fan-favorite at Lynah rink, where crunch-time saves frequently usher in rounds of “Andy-Iles!!” from the Lynah Faithful. He also has earned praise from his coach, who appreciates his competitiveness, consistency, and all-out effort.
“He is such a mentally tough kid,” said head coach Mike Schafer. “He’s extremely competitive, and he focuses, and is consistent. He’s been great. He was extremely consistent last year and we expect him to be very consistent this year as well.”
Now in his junior year, Iles has high expectations for this season.
“We have high expectations for ourselves,” he said. We expect to be one of the top teams in this league and to contend for the ECAC title and the national title. We’re here because we want to win the National Championship, and we’re excited about that opportunity.”
Original Author: Ben Horowitz