Union goalie at top of his game
SCHENECTADY Union junior goalie Troy Grosenick has produced some good statistics this season. But it hasn’t been as good as last year, when he dominated ECAC Hockey.
The Grosenick who won the Ken Dryden Award as the league’s top goalie appears to be rounding back into the form that helped the Dutchmen win their second straight ECACH regular-season title.
Grosenick had his best back-to-back games of the season over the weekend against Cornell and Colgate, and he looks to continue the upward trend tonight as the Dutchmen (5-4-3 ECACH, 11-8-4 overall) play their third game in five days when they face Harvard (3-8, 5-10-1) at 7 at Messa Rink.
Despite the Dutchmen’s 3-2 loss to Cornell on Friday, Grosenick made 33 saves. He didn’t have a chance on any of the Big Red goals because of two odd-man rushes and no defense in front of him on the other.
Grosenick came back with a 25-save effort in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colgate. The save everyone was talking about afterward was the one Grosenick had on Joe Wilson’s wrister with just under five minutes left in the second period. Wilson fired a hard, quick shot from the left circle. Grosenick’s glove was quicker, and he snagged the puck to protect the Dutchmen’s one-goal lead.
“I think this was the first weekend that this was Troy Grosenick, and how he was playing last year,” Union coach Rick Bennett said after the game. “It all revolves around his work with [assistant coach] Jason Tapp. He is one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever had the chance to work with, as a far as the net. He reminds me of Kris Mayotte [Union goalie from 2002-06] in the fact of their work ethic.
“When you have that work ethic and you’re coachable, you’re going to get better.”
Last season, Grosenick posted a 22-6-5 record with a 1.65 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts. In addition to winning the Dryden Award, Grosenick was a top-10 Hobey Baker Award finalist, an all-ECACH first-team selection and was named an All-America.
This year, Grosenick is 7-6-4 with a 2.30 GAA and a .917 save percentage. They aren’t quite like last year’s stats, but they aren’t bad, either.
“I try to approach it one game at a time,” Grosenick said. “I’ve felt good the last couple of weeks. The main thing is treating every day like a new day, and going out and working hard as I can. I’ve kind of had that approach my whole time here. I don’t really think about what’s happened in the past too much. I try to focus on what’s going on in the future. Right now, I’m just
focused on working hard in practice and playing tomorrow.”
Grosenick suffered a leg injury early in the second period of Union’s 6-2 win at Harvard Nov. 9, and missed the next two games. However, Grosenick said that the leg injury didn’t affect his game.
“It’s one of those things you battle through,” Grosenick said. “It’s tough when you’re not in the lineup, obviously, and you’re not able to practice. But at the end of the day, it’s just a little adversity that you have to battle through. It could have been a lot worse. I was just thankful I was out only for a week or so. I came back and worked hard again, and tried to get that form back.”
Tapp, who was a goalie at Boston University, has a willing student in Grosenick.
“He sets pretty lofty goals for himself,” Tapp said. “He had one heck of a year [last season]. It’s tough to reach that success. He works hard at his game. He’s always doing extra video [and] extra goalie work. I’m confident that he’s rounding into form and he’s going to be strong down the stretch.”
Tapp has seen improvement in Grosenick’s game, especially in rebound control.
“He’s put more pucks [away] from danger areas,” Tapp said. “His mental focus has always been high, and he tracks pucks very well. The biggest thing for him this year has been rebounds. Fighting through traffic is a big part of his game, too, making sure he’s looking over tops of screens.”
Grosenick said it’s important for him to fix what he terms “silly mistakes.”
“A lot of it has been a little bit out of position, not challenging quite enough or being square to the puck,” Grosenick said. “They’re little things you work as hard as you can on, and correct it.”
For the third straight week, the Dutchmen dropped in the USCHO.-com/NCAA hockey poll. They fell from 17th to 19th. Union received 120 points. . . .
Union senior defenseman Shawn Stuart will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury. . . .
After starting the season 4-2, Harvard is in a 1-8-1 slide. Its only win during that stretch was 6-5 overtime victory over Boston University on Jan. 9.