Gophers’ Marvin quits hockey team

Tim Nichols

A long and tumultuous Gophers career came to a close Monday as Minnesota men’s hockey goaltender Willy Marvin decided to leave the team.
Marvin’s announcement came on the heels of comments he made in the Nov. 18 edition of the Daily. The junior from Warroad, Minn., was reportedly upset about a lack of playing time and what he perceived as unfair treatment from the coaching staff.
“I just felt it was time to move on with my life and concentrate on things other than hockey,” said Marvin. “I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked, and I wish I could have contributed to this team more on the ice.”
It seemed like a matter of time before this situation came to a head. But coach Doug Woog said, he knew Marvin’s departure could come at any time.
“It was a possibility, we knew [that] long term,” Woog said. “Playing in four games over three years probably helped his decision.”
After Marvin turned down an offer from Colorado College, he came to the team as a walk-on from Warroad in the 1995-96 season and was red-shirted. Warroad is a hockey-crazy Minnesota-Canada border town of about 1,800 people, with the words “Hockeytown U.S.A.” painted on the water tower.
He led Warroad High School to the Class A state championship in 1994, and then to the semifinals in 1995. Marvin once held opponents scoreless for 271 consecutive minutes and had five straight shutouts for the Warriors.
With the Gophers, Marvin was known as the team jokester and locker-room clown. He was very popular with his teammates and the coaching staff, many of whom will miss his presence.
“Our players will be fine, Willy’s friends will always be there,” Woog said. “It’s still hard, though. He’s a friend that isn’t going to be here anymore.”
Marvin will stay at the University and continue his education.
“My experience at the University of Minnesota and with the hockey program has been positive, but I feel the need to pursue other avenues and concentrate on school at this time.”
Marvin ended his Minnesota hockey career appearing in 11 games, starting in four and posting a 2-1-1 record over his three-year tenure with the Gophers.

Thriving in hockey wasteland
The fourth line is regarded as a kind of hockey purgatory for players. It’s where players who are dubbed goons, projects and lesser-skilled are sent.
When Woog was asked to describe the fourth line, he responded jokingly, “Big, slow and ugly.”
But the fourth liners of Doug Meyer, Matt Leimbek and Stuart Senden for Minnesota are thriving in their role, breaking the “checking line” stereotypes and playing more consistently than any line on the team.
“Right now it’s definitely my role (being a fourth liner),” said Meyer, a freshman. “We’ve been doing a pretty good job and playing our roles like coach Woog wants us to.”
Against Alaska-Anchorage, Meyer played his role to near-perfection as he assisted a goal Friday and scored the first of his career on Saturday.
Leimbek, a sophomore, centers the line. The Rochester native is no stranger to grinding it out on the checking line — it’s where he was last year for the Gophers.
“On the fourth line you just try to do the little things,” Leimbek said. “Try to play a little bit of offense, don’t get scored on. As a rule, we come to play and work hard every night.”

Slapshots
ù Minnesota has not been shut out in its last 146 games. The last time the Gophers were shut out was Jan. 14 in Alaska-Anchorage, losing 1-0.
ù Minnesota is currently fourth in the WCHA in the powerplay and fifth in the penalty kill.
ù The first period is always critical for success, but especially for the Gophers. They are 1-16-1 the last two seasons when trailing after the first period.