Well that didn’t take long. One weekend into the season and we already have a goalie controversy. Its been brewing since last year, but after the exhibition game it looked like it might be put to rest for a little while. But here we are one week later and its back on the table.
Chris Rawlings is the starter. For now. The 6’5 Junior from British Columbia has played in 66 games as a Huskies posting a 2.75 GAA and .917 Save Percentage, along with 8 shutouts. There is no denying that he has put up great numbers in his 2+ years here. But the goals he lets in are usually on the weaker side, which can affect a team mentally in ways that dont show statistically. His size is also his best skill, which also has its downfalls. But you can look no further than his shutout against BU in his freshman year to see that he is a great goalie. He may never be Brad Theissen, but Rawlings is a great goalie. Albeit, one that can frustrate fans and probably coaches.
Then there is his challenger, Clay Witt. The 6’1 Sophomore from Florida became a fan-favorite…by not playing last year. Like on any struggling team, the back-up goalie is everyone’s favorite player and the answer to all problems. In limited action (Just 7 games, 3 starts), Witt has been great. He has 1.86 GAA and .940 Save Percentage. He reminds me of Tim Thomas a little bit, with the way he seems to just be all over the place and not so much worried with technique. (Not saying he is as good, just similar playing styles). As last year wore on, the calls for Witt increased. After a 41 save effort against BU in the final week of the season, many hoped he would get a start in the playoff series. He didn’t, but he did come on in relief of Rawlings in both the quarterfinal series and semifinal game. There was a small faction who believed he should be the starter going into this year. But that was never the plan and letting in 6 goals in 20 minutes during the exhibition killed any discussion.
But on Sunday, Witt replaced Rawlings midway through the 3rd and played well in the eyes of Coach Madigan. The fact is Northeastern has 2 good goalies. And Madigan planned to give Witt more time anyways. Even though, the defense is probably more responsible for the 9 goals that have been given up over 2 games, a goalie switch for Friday is not out of the question.
I think Witt deserves a chance to start and maybe a goalie change can put some energy into the defense and get them going. I also think its good to send the message to Rawlings that nothing is guaranteed and that both goalies are going to have to work hard for playing time. That can only help their development.
So what say you Husky fans? Who should get the call Friday? Feel free to leave a comment and tell us the reasoning behind your vote.