Humiliated and humbled, Marvin

Matthew Cross

Gophers goaltender Willy Marvin has spent the last three years sitting on the end of the bench, waiting for his chance to play.
This was supposed to be his year, but instead he has watched freshman Adam Hauser steal the starting job. Marvin said he doesn’t think he’ll get a chance to play again anytime soon.
The result: Marvin said he is feeling humbled and humiliated, and is questioning his willingness to stay with the team.
“I never wanted to quit before, because I thought I always had a chance to play,” he said. “This year it’s like, ‘What am I doing here?’
“They lost faith in me. They just pack it in on me, and that hurts as a player. … It’s made my outlook on my Gopher career pretty shaky.”
As a senior at Warroad, a Minnesota/Canada border town nicknamed Hockeytown U.S.A, Marvin got an offer from Colorado College but turned it down because he said he didn’t want to leave the state. He then contemplated going to school at North Dakota and giving up hockey.
That summer Marvin began to question his decision. Then Gophers coach Doug Woog called Marvin to ask if he would come to the University. Marvin jumped at the chance.
Since Marvin came here as a walk-on and is still not on scholarship, his services are merely voluntary. He can leave anytime he wants.
“I don’t owe anybody anything,” Marvin said. “It’s not like I got a fair shake here. It would be different if I worked hard, they gave me a shot, and then I didn’t make it. But that’s not the case.”
Marvin said he doesn’t feel like he was given an equal opportunity to prove himself in game situations before getting benched in favor of Hauser.
And he’s got a point.
At the beginning of the season, both goalies struggled. Hauser gave up six goals against St. Lawrence in the opener and a couple of weeks later Marvin got embarrassed at St. Cloud when he gave up the game-winning goal with just a few seconds left.
The two goalies had a comparable save percentage and goals-against average.
Then Woog was faced with a decision over who should start at Wisconsin the following weekend. He chose Hauser, who was showing signs of improvement and had a better week of practice.
“(Marvin) just didn’t stop pucks,” Woog said. “It’s not like it was illogical to start Hauser. It’s just not in favor of Willy.”
Hauser came up with some big saves against the Badgers and apparently clinched the starting job for good.
Since then, however, Hauser has given up 21 goals in the last four games, which were against Colorado College and North Dakota. Woog said the team’s defense was more at fault in the last four games than Hauser.
“He’s our top goalie at this point, and he’s given me no reason not to play him,” Woog said. “Hauser just gives us a better chance to win.”
Part of that has to do with the goalies’ individual styles. Hauser is more orthodox, whereas Marvin takes more chances.
“He’s kind of like (NHL goalie Dominik) Hasek. He’s always flopping around,” said senior captain Wyatt Smith, who won a Class A state championship with Marvin at Warroad in 1994. “But that catches up to him a little bit.”
Smith said many of the players have approached the coaches because they want to see Marvin play. He said he feels badly that Marvin hasn’t gotten a shot because everybody on the team wants him to stay.
“It’s obviously tough,” Smith said. “He doesn’t feel like he got a fair shot, … (and) a lot of guys choose to leave in that situation. He’s having a good time right now, but it could be a different story after the year is over.”
Woog said he is simply doing to what is best for the team now and in the future. The goalie of the future for Minnesota, he added, is Hauser.
However, Woog said Marvin is not yet out of the picture.
“He’s had a chance every day in practice and in some games,” Woog said. “He’s got to work hard every day and do what he has to do. It’s still a pretty good opportunity for him.”
Marvin is a little less optimistic, saying he shouldn’t have to prove himself anymore.
“Depending on how the year ends up,” he said, “I could look back on this as a learning experience … (But) it’s more bad than good.”