Union goalie Troy Grosenick wants to defend his Thomas VanArden Dukehart Award for the highest grade-point average on the hockey team. He also wants to be an even better goalie.
Those are the reasons why the sophomore netminder will be staying at Union.
The 22-year-old Grosenick announced Thursday that he will return for his junior season, ending any speculation that he will join junior center Jeremey Welsh in the pros. Welsh signed with the Carolina Hurricanes hours after the Dutchmen lost in the NCAA hockey Frozen Four semifinal against Ferris State.
Grosenick, who is a managerial economics major, won the Dukehart Award for the highest grade-point average on the team, a 3.8.
“It’s really hard to pass up an education like Union offers,” Grosenick said. “And it’s hard to leave guys that you made relationships with the past two years. It’s definitely a brotherhood.”
After playing in just three games last season, Grosenick was 22-6-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts. He won the Ken Dryden Award as the ECAC Hockey goalie of the year and was named to the ECACH all-tournament team and the NCAA East Regional team. Grosenick was picked for the All-America East first team. He was also a Hobey Baker top-10 finalist, the first Dutchmen to ever receive that honor.
Grosenick realizes that while he had a great season, it was his first full season as the Dutchmen’s No. 1 goalie. Keith Kinkaid was the Dutchmen’s top goalie the previous two seasons. He gave up his final two years of eligibility last April to sign with the New Jersey Devils.
“I felt like I have more to do here,” Grosenick said. “I need to make more improvements to my game before I play professionally. I have a great setup here at Union to continue to improve my game.
“It was one year. To me, I’m not ready to pass up an education and go pro based on one year. It’s not a big enough body of work. I’m just looking forward to improving here over the summer, and coming back and getting after it. We’re going to have a great team next year, and I’m already looking forward to next season.”
With Grosenick’s return, the Dutchmen should be the favorites to win a third straight ECACH regular-season title and a second consecutive ECACH tournament championship, which could lead to greater things in the NCAA tournament.
Grosenick’s return also means Union coach Rick Bennett won’t have to go through what he had to deal with last summer, when he had to bring Niskayuna native Colin Stevens in a year early after telling former goalie recruit Julien Laplante he was no longer welcome when he admitted to playing a period of a Western Hockey League game a few years ago. The Dutchmen go into the 2012-13 season with no questions about goaltending.
“I guess it’ll make it a little easier than last summer, that’s for certain, with the whirlwind we faced,” Bennett said. “Sometimes, the whirlwind just isn’t so bad. But if I know that Troy Grosenick, Colin Stevens and Dillon Pieri are in our nets next year, I’m sleeping a lot better.”