Saturday, September 11, 2010

Best Goalies in the WCHA

Recently, Western College Hockey Blog rated each WCHA team based on the skills of their goalies. The list is as follows:
  1. St. Cloud State
  2. North Dakota
  3. Bemidji State
  4. Minnesota
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Colorado College
  7. Denver
  8. Minnesota-Duluth
  9. Nebraska-Omaha
  10. Michigan Tech
  11. Minnesota State
  12. Alaska-Anchorage
Glad to see that SCSU is right there on top. I honestly think that the Huskies have no doubt the best goaltending duo in the WCHA and quite possibly in the nation. I know there has been some doubts about Mike Lee, but that seems to always happen when someone comes in with extremely high expectations. Despite being pulled during the most important games last year (World Junior gold medal game, Final Five championship, and NCAA regional final) Lee had some incredible games (World Junior quarterfinals and semifinals, shutting out UW one of the most talented teams last year in the WCHA playoffs, and his win in the NCAA against Northern Michigan). Overall, Lee did show some "freshmen moments" last season where the stress of the game got to him but he will continue to improve each year and will likely be the best goalie in the WCHA some day. Dean Blais predicted that Mike Lee will lead St. Cloud State to their first national championship and I believe that he still will.

Even if there may be some arguments that there is a better goalie than Dunn or Lee in the WCHA, I think there is no way that you could make the argument that any WCHA team has a goalie duo as good as Dunn and Lee.

Here is what the Western College Hockey Blog said about SCSU:

The Huskies return one of the most talented goaltending duos in the country in senior Dan Dunn and sophomore Mike Lee. The biggest concern for St. Cloud in goal will be deciding how to rotate the two goalies.

Dunn seemed destined to fade out of the picture in favor of the highly-touted Lee last season, but while Lee battled inconsistency at times, Dunn was a much more consistent goalie than he had been in his two previous seasons, and the Huskies seemed to play better with him in net at times. He'll earn his fair share of playing time, but Lee will likely be the starter in big games.

Lee had an enigmatic first year of college hockey. He's perhaps best remembered for being pulled before the midway point of the three biggest games he played last year: the World Junior gold medal game, Final Five championship, and NCAA regional final, but what often gets lost is how brilliantly he played in the World Junior quarterfinals, and semifinals, the three great playoff games he played to get St. Cloud into the Final Five championship, and perhaps most importantly, the amazing game he played against Northern Michigan to get St. Cloud their first NCAA tournament win. One can only imagine how long and uncomfortable Bob Motzko's rant about St. Cloud's tournament record would have been this year if Lee hadn't made a sprawling breakaway save in overtime of that game.

With a year of experience in college hockey, and likely a stronger defense in front of him, Lee seems poised to take the next step in his game and produce those stellar shutdown performances on a more regular basis.

What do you think about these rankings?


P.S. Who do you think will play in goal for SCSU for the majority of the games this year?

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