Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who Starts?

There was a time in October when UNB fans were wondering which goalie would get the start. The team had played a lengthy exhibition schedule where Derek Yeomans and Travis Fullerton both had a few games they probably want back. Coach MacDougall went with Fullerton to open the season in PEI. He let 4 goals in on 21 shots and the V-Reds lost in OT.

MacDougall turned to Yeomans the week after vs Dalhousie. He allowed 2 goals on 14 shots, including a late PP goal when the game was effectively over. Not great, but not terrible. Yeomans got the start the next night and looked good vs Acadia, stopping 23 shots as UNB won 4-3 in OT. That was the kind of stability MacDougall thought his injury-bugged team needed. A few days later Yeomans looked shaky vs STU, allowing 4 goals on 13 shots. It happens, but...

Back to Fullerton. In a game where UNB outshot the opponent 38-16, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 game...

Back to Yeomans vs SMU. The team loses, but Yeomans keeps them in it and is possibly his team's best player that night. He gets the nod the following week and plays good, but not great, and keeps the starting job for a few weeks.

Then something happens in November. UNB is down 2-0 and outshot badly in the first 2 periods in Moncton, but Yeomans finally makes some big saves to keep his team in it. The V-Reds score 2 goals in the final seconds of the game to tie it. Then Yeomans goes perfect in the shootout to win it for his team. UNB finally has the stability they need in goal, and Yeomans plays great in the next few games, once again shutting down Moncton, and going 0-for again in the shootout vs STU along the way.

Both goalies look strong vs Boston College. Yeomans starts the 2nd half off with a win. Fullerton follows up with a win. Yeomans has been giving the team solid (not spectacular) goaltending for several games now. So back to Yeomans, right?

For some reason, MacDougall goes back to Fullerton, probably just to keep Yeomans rested for the weekend starts. Fullerton responds with a shut-out vs Dalhousie en route to a UNB shutout streak record, and gives the team 6 strong games in January.

Now Saint Mary's is coming to town on Friday, UNB is 0-3 so far in the season series. Who gets the start?

1 Travis Fullerton: 6 Wins, 2 Losses, GAA 1.49, Save pct .925, 3 shutouts
31 Derek Yeomans: 12 Wins, 4 Losses, GAA 2.64, Save pct .879


Anonymous said...

I think ya gotta go with Fullerton - it's time for him to prove he can shut down the big boys. SMU has the ability to make any goalie look bad, so it's going to depend on the help they get from the rest of the team - clearing the rebounds and killing penalties (or not taking penalties). This is just like playoff hockey baby - it's time for Travis to get his feet wet.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree... how can MacDougall not start Fullerton. I'm not saying that he's a better goalie than Yeomans but he's hot right now and Yeomans seems to be struggling a bit.

Remember, this game against SMU is huge... if SMU wins their remaining 3 games they finish with 42 points, that means that UNB would have to win 2 of their last 4 games to clinch 1st place. However, with a win over SMU on Friday night, SMU would not be able to catch UNB and they would clinch 1st automatically.

IMO, UNB has to win and win big on Friday night... not only do they need to get their first win of the season against SMU but they need to send a message to the league that they're primed and ready for the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Also, Fullerton needs more ice-time to make the stats list. I believe he needs 8-9 games to be included in the league leaders. If he doesn't have enough games, he can't make the all-rookie team. PLUS, the team needs the confidence of beating SMU soundly as they will meet again in the finals.