The Michigan Tech Huskies’ goaltending situation is in flux with the departure of the short-lived, yet beloved, Angus Redmond. With one man returning and two new faces, plenty could happen between the pipes as MTU tries to fill the shoes of ‘Beef.’
The sole returner is junior Devin Kero. The Hancock, Michigan native was given a chance to win the job last season, but struggled to find consistent play. When Redmond took over, Kero’s window closed. I do not anticipate that window reopening this season even with no defined starter. Kero is clearly the third goaltender in the rotation and, unlike Redmond last year, has no mystery about his potential. He is not good enough to backstop a tournament-level team, which is fine. He is a serviceable emergency goalie with NCAA experience and will be key in helping develop the freshman goaltender.
Speaking of “the freshman goaltender,” let me introduce Robbie Beydoun, the first-year out of Waterloo (USHL) and Plymouth, Mich. He has three years of experience in the USHL and has been solid throughout. Never posting a GAA above 2.93, he had an especially stellar year as the full-time starter in 2016-17. He went 24-9-2 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.22 goals against average to go along with five shutouts. This brought him the title of Third Team USHL All-Star. His scouting report notes that he is comfortable playing the puck, something the Huskies became accustomed to last year with Redmond. Depending on Head Coach Joe Shawhan’s preferences, that may give him a leg up as the potential starter. Beydoun is relatively diminutive at only 5’11” so he relies on speed and athleticism. It remains to be seen what he can offer at the college level, but he should have a chance early on.
Beydoun will compete with journeyman goaltender Patrick “Packy” Munson, a junior transfer from the University of Denver who is immediately eligible. His path has been interesting: He played his junior hockey in Fairbanks, Alaska for the Ice Dogs (NAHL). After two years there with great success, he signed with Vermont, playing in a time share during the 2015-2016 season. He excelled as a Catamount, posting a 2.37/.920 statline, but decided to leave after one year for personal reasons and concerns with his fit at UVM. He transferred to Denver, where he sat out a year with plans to have a chance to start there this season. Those plans were dashed when Tanner Jaillet decided to return for his senior year and Denver brought in elite freshman prospect Dayton Rasmussen. That left Munson without a role, which is why the Huskies were fortunate to stumble upon him late in the year. Munson brings an immediate veteran presence and NCAA experience that neither of the other MTU goaltenders have. Having watched him in his time with Fairbanks, he has size and a fundamentally sound game. He plays with confidence and consistency, which makes him a strong bet to take over the starting job.
Who will be the starter for the Huskies this year? I think it is Munson’s job to lose. He has shown he can play at a high level in Hockey East, so even after a year away from playing in games he should be given the benefit of the doubt. It would be easier, and potentially wiser, to have Beydoun develop slowly behind an established player like Munson. Also consider that MTU likely sees Beydoun as the future, so they may give him a few games, especially against bad teams, for him to gain much needed experience and confidence. While I could see a timeshare being established at some point depending on the performance of both guys, there is one more obvious reason I think Munson comes out of the gate as the clear starter: that starting was somewhat promised when he signed with MTU. The Huskies were almost certainly not the only team courting the veteran netminder. He definitely had some leverage to use and the promise of some level of playing time could have been a deciding factor. Sure, there was a clear hole in Houghton and the attraction may have just been perceived not guaranteed, but Munson left the defending national champions because he wants to play. He will be the starting goaltender against Wisconsin on Oct. 1st and will keep that job as long as health and performance dictate.
Feature photo courtesy UVM Athletic Department.