Posts Tagged ‘Mike Spillane’

So who’s in goal?

December 15, 2009

Early this University of Vermont hockey season, presumed No. 1 goalie Rob Madore wasn’t the same goaltender he was as a freshman who helped lead the Catamounts to the NCAA Frozen Four last year.

Rob Madore

Madore’s struggles opened the way for senior Mike Spillane, a two-year backup to Joe Fallon who lost out to Madore in the duel for No. 1 in 2008-09, and he responded with several good outings.

That left head coach Kevin Sneddon without a clearcut No. 1 and a developing rotation system. That’s not necessarily the worst scenario possible, but Sneddon, like many other coaches, would prefer one goalie to play well enough to start nearly every game.

Over the past six UVM games, the goalie sitaution has taken more twists and turns as Madore shows signs he’s ready to be The Man Behind the Mask. By his own evaluation, Madore said he was trying too hard to be perfect early in the season and too concerned about stopping second and third shots before making the first save. He’s since refocused and he’s relaxed and confident, as he showed with a spectacular early save against St. Lawrence that help set the tone.

In his last three starts, Madore has allowed five goals with a goals-against average of 1.62, a save percentage of .945 and his second career shutout.

Even if his relief numbers against New Hampshire — 1 goal allowed, 9 saves, 29 minutes — are thrown in, he still has impressive numbers: 1.68 GAA and .940 save percentage.

Spillane meanwhile has been on a rollercoaster. He had a 26-save shutout of Yale but yielded 10 goals in his

Now comes the question: Whom does Sneddon start against Dartmouth?

If Sneddon stays with the rotation, it’s Spillane turn. However, if Sneddon feels Madore is ready to assert himself as No. 1, should he start this Saturday rather than face the extended layoff from Dec. 12 to Jan. 2, the opening round of Vermont’s holiday tournament?

As of Tuesday, Sneddon isn’t saying; nothing unusual about that since he often uses the input of goalie coach Terry Lovelette as well as performances in practice in naming his starter.

As a guess (educated or otherwise), though, look for Madore to go against Dartmouth, Spillane to open against Alabama-Huntsville in the tourney’s first game and Madore to play either Minnesota-Duluth or Mercyhurst in UVM’s second tourney game.

Mike Spillane: Saving the Catamounts

November 18, 2009

Who would have thought that Mike Spillane, at this stage of his career, wold be the two-time Hockey East defensive player of the week this season?

That’s not a comment on Spillane’s ability; rather, it’s a question arising from his history.

As a freshman and sophomore, Spillane spent most University of Vermont games watching workhorse veteran Joe Fallon repel pucks for the Catamounts.

As a junior, Spillane finally got his shot at being UVM’s No. 1 man in the crease. Instead, between Spillane’s erratic play and injuries, freshman Rob Madore put the Catamounts on his back and carried them all the way to the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals.

So when this season begin, the job was clearly Madore’s to lose and Spillane faced the prospect of spending much of his final year in a Vermont uniform tending the bench door again.

Instead, Madore has struggled, his difficulties compounded by a veteran defense also not playing up to its potential. He’s 2-4-1 in seven starts with a goals against average of 3.73 and a save percentage of .879. Both are well off his rookie marks of 2.32 and .912.

Spillane’s offseason surgery, a suspension for violation of team rules and illness, coupled with Vermont’s weird first-semester schedule, kept Spillane on the bench until he made a heroic return with his first career shutout, 3-0 over Providence. He was named the HEA’s defensive player of the week.

He came off the bench in the first Boston College game last weekend and fared no better than Madore, but he responded with a 3-2 win that again earned him HEA defensive player of the week honors.

This season, Madore is 2-0-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a .931 save percentage; his career marks are 12-6-5, 2.81 and .893.

Spillane has earned the start in UVM’s next game against streaking Massachusetts on Tuesday at The Gut. After that, who knows? Certainly Madore will play, but if Spillane keeps making saves and winning games, maybe the senior will make his final year a memorable one for himself and the Catamounts.