Hockey splits in

by Tim Nichols

All of a sudden, after three years spent on the lonely side of the bench, Gophers goaltender Willy Marvin has become a very valuable commodity.
Marvin made the first start of his career on Saturday, and made Gophers hockey fans and players forget — for a night at least — about Minnesota’s shaky situation in goal.
“We like to call that Big Willy style,” Reggie Berg said.
The Gophers upset No. 4 Ohio State 4-3, following a night in which the team and rookie goaltender Adam Hauser seemed to be suffering from empty net syndrome in a 6-4 loss to unheralded St. Lawrence.
Hauser, a freshman, was picked to start the opener; he stumbled early and couldn’t recover. Marvin, the junior and long-time third-stringer, jumped at the opportunity and didn’t disappoint.
Marvin was steady but unspectacular, stopping 20 of 23 shots. Although he looked shaky at times, Marvin said he was pleased overall with his performance.
“You can’t take any starts for granted. I had to prove something.” Marvin said. “I think I played OK, but I didn’t play my best. I needed to prove myself tonight and I feel pretty good about the game.”
Senior captain Wyatt Smith, who played with Marvin in high school in Warroad, Minn., said he had faith in the first-timer.
“Willy’s been here for three years, working hard every day. He’s kind of the clown in the locker room and everybody gets along with him,” Smith said. “Not to take away from (Adam) Hauser, but this one is pretty much for Willy.”
Coach Doug Woog stopped short of rallying around Marvin, although he did say Marvin would start in the WCHA opener next weekend against Minnesota-Duluth.
The “Let’s Win One For Willy” attitude might be one reason the defense played so well Saturday night. The defense blocked 12 Buckeyes shots, compared to only one against St. Lawrence.
“(From) one game to the other, we did a total comeback,” freshman defenseman Jordan Leopold said. “We turned everything around, played hard the next game and showed our stuff.”
The Gophers also received a solid contribution from Berg. The senior wing scored the biggest goal of the game when he took a Bill Kohn pass at the blue line and deked his way through the defense. Berg lost his balance, but as he fell down, he pulled the puck around diving goaltender Ray Aho to make it a 3-1 game 19 seconds into the second period. Sophomore Aaron Miskovich scored his second of the season 18 seconds later off a feed from junior Rico Pagel to seal the win.
Hard-nosed forechecking demonstrated the type of tenacity that was lacking from the first game of the tournament against St. Lawrence. Woog got in a jab at his defense during his post-game comments Friday, when he was jarred by the locker room door opening behind him.
“That’s the hardest we’ve hit all night,” Woog said.
The hardest hit in the game, however, was Hauser.
The 18-year-old started Friday against the Saints and looked great in the first 18 seconds. After that, it was all downhill.
At the 19-second mark of the first period, Hauser let in a shot by Saints winger John Poapst. He went on to allow a pair of goals in each period.
At the end of the game, Hauser looked drained emotionally, and took responsibility for not making the stops he felt he should have.
“There’s things that I would of liked to get done,” Hauser said. “I’m part of the team. I wanted to help them as much as I can, and I didn’t. I feel like I let them down.”
At the end of the game, Woog expressed a letdown with Hauser’s performance.
“It was disappointing, what the hell,” Woog said. “When a goalie plays good, you say it’s exciting; I’d say this was disappointing. To be honest, I’m not too impressed by him.”

SCORING SUMMARIES

SATURDAY
Ohio State 1 1 1 — 3
Gophers 2 2 0 — 4
FIRST PERIOD: Minn — Smith (Berg, N. Miller), 1:13. Minn — N. Miller (Smith, Berg), 4:16. OSU — Boisvert (Richards, Cousineau), 18:07.
SECOND PERIOD: Minn — Berg (Kohn, Leopold), :19. Minn — Miskovich (Pagel), :37. OSU — Boisvert (Cousineau, Richards), 1:12.
THIRD PERIOD: OSU — Lafrance (Smith, Signoretti), 14:00.

FRIDAY
St. Lawrence 2 2 2 — 6
Gophers 0 2 2 — 4
FIRST PERIOD: SLU — Poapst (Ju. Harney, Anderson), :19. SLU — Daniels (unassisted), 18:27.
SECOND PERIOD: Minn — Berg (Smith), 2:39. SLU — Poapst (Prier, Anderson), 5:04. Minn — Spehar (Leopold), 10:43. SLU — Dietrich (Ju. Harney), 16:39
THIRD PERIOD: SLU — Anderson (unassisted), 4:57. SLU — Clarke (Dietrich), 6:47. Minn — Miskovich (Spehar, Pohl), 13:46. Minn — Westrum (Anderson, Timmons), 17:53).