I think we can all agree that the biggest struggle for Joe Shawhan was figuring out the goaltending situation throughout his first year as Head Coach in his rookie season. It didn’t seem like his three netminders were comfortable with the uncertainty of any rotation and Shawhan wasn’t afraid to pull his goalies if he thought it would help but at times it felt like each goalie, when faced with a sink or swim moment, didn’t rise to the occasion until the amazing playoff run. There was much criticism all season on the the Joe Shawhan Hour from fans asking about this and it never seemed to get worked out. The players might have been better off knowing it was a Friday/Saturday rotation versus what we had but we tried to trust Coach Shawhan because he’s the “Goalie Whisperer.” Devin Kero and Packy Munson both stepped up to get the Huskies through the WCHA playoffs and into the NCAA tournament.
This offseason was an interesting one for the goaltending situation. Both Devin Kero (potential graduate transfer) and Packy Munson (professional possibilities) had discussed leaving the program with coaches and it seemed likely that MTU would be only returning sophomore Robbie Beydoun. Instead, Kero decided to stay and Munson didn’t get the opportunities he was hoping for, so for picture day last month there were actually four goaltenders in the picture on the roster. Now as of October 1, Munson has been removed and we’re down to three. Devin Kero leads the way in experience but I’m not positive he is quite good enough to be the #1 guy. He’s shown flashes of excellent play but throughout his career he’s given up too many soft goals for my taste.
The problem is that Beydoun (0.903 SV%/2.63 GAA) has 11 games under his belt and faired a little worse than Kero (0.910 SV%/2.50 GAA). The third player is transfer Matt Jurusik. Jurusik spent last season with Sioux City in the USHL after playing two seasons for Wisconsin. He was the main goalie as a freshman in Mike Eaves’ last season leading the Badgers before falling out of favor with current head coach, Tony Granato. Jurusik had a pretty good season with Sioux City, but Beydoun came in with pretty high expectations after a very successful year with Waterloo in the USHL.
Despite the transfer status of Jurusik, he is the youngest since he was a true freshman when Eaves brought him to Wisconsin. Coach Shawhan has stated multiple times that he has confidence in all of his goaltenders but here’s hoping that someone rises to the top or a more stable rotation is setup. The defense and the team seem like they’ll be more comfortable having a good idea ahead of time who will be in each night unless things really go south.
My best guess? Devin Kero gets the majority of the starts early but over the course of the season either Beydoun or Jurusik will ultimately take over the starting job and lead the team. I obviously haven’t had a chance to see them in practice or even the Black & Gold game (which is this Saturday) but hopefully the goalies make decisions easier for Shawhan this year and he can figure something out. It seems like both he and the goaltenders last year learned a lot about handling the situation and hopefully he’s better prepared for the balance this time around.
Cover image courtesy Michigan Tech Athletics.