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PREP BOYS HOCKEY

Ever wonder how a hockey team handles two starting goalies? Ask Beaver Dam coach Doug Kraft

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Schave and Vick

Freshman Zach Schave, left, and sophomore Henry Vick are sharing the starting role as Beaver Dam's goalie this season. They've helped the Golden Beavers to an 11-3 overall record and 7-1 in the Badger East Conference.

Most teams in high school hockey usually only have one goalie.

Beaver Dam, however, is continuing a tradition of having two quality netminders on the squad.

Adam Lindeman was the starting goalie for three seasons (2013-2014 to 2015-2016) and right behind him pushing for playing time was Marshal Goodrich, who held the position for two seasons (2016-2017 to 2017-2018). During Goodrich’s starting days, Kyle Henning was yearning for playing time. Henning got his time to shine during the 2018-2019 season while an up-and-coming goalie Kirk Davis was lying in wait. Then for the next two seasons (2019-2020 to 2020-2021) Davis and Noah Banes were battling each other for playing time and found success.

With Davis and Banes graduating after last season, sophomore Henry Vick and freshman Zach Schave are following suit. And the Golden Beavers haven’t skipped a beat, with an 11-3 overall record so far and a spot atop the Badger East standings at 7-1 league.

“They both have exceeded my expectations, to be blunt. I was expecting the growing pains to last a little longer than they did,” Beaver Dam coach Doug Kraft said. “You take out the first game, that’s hard. The first game is hard for any team and any goalie. They really settled in after that. Obviously, our record, one of the two of them is playing in every single game.

“They’ve definitely been up to the task.”

Kraft said going into the season, he was going to allow Schave and Vick to battle it out for the starting position during training camp. However, things didn’t turn out the way he planned.

“They’ve both delivered in spades,” Kraft said. “It’s been very encouraging as a coach. I think they just got that attitude that there’s a brotherhood of goaltenders. It’s like catchers in baseball, quarterbacks in football when you’re in the same position group or the same position room. You have an understanding that only one of them is going to get to play, but your success is my success.”

Both goalies have been impressive in their own rights. Schave, the freshman, has a 5-1 record with an 84.2 save percentage (144 saves to 171 shots on goal). Meanwhile, Vick has a 6-2 record and has allowed just 10 goals in 200 shots on goal (95 save percentage), and has earned three of the four shutouts for the Golden Beavers this season.

“Stats can sometimes be skewed, especially in the first half of the season,” Kraft said. “We looked at how the goalie practiced and how the goalie played in the previous game. That’s what we’re looking at most. Goalie stats are tricky. Goals against average really gets stuck to the goalie, but it’s a team stat because it’s how many goals go in during the game.

“Save percentage is a little more on the goalie, but even that can be affected by how the team is playing and what team you’re playing against. You can’t disregard stats all together, but you also can’t go only by statistics.”

Kraft said both goalies did so well out of training camp that they made it difficult to name a starting goalie. And when he initially had the conversation with both players that they would be rotating duties this season, they showed a sense of relief in his mind.

“It really pushed me because I wanted to be the better goalie,” Vick said. “It honestly helped because (Schave) pushed me to work better in practice and outside of practice like the weight room.”

As for Schave, he said it’s pushed him to make sure he’s prepared for every game he plays in and stays focused during practice. Coming into the season, Schave said his expectations where to be the backup on varsity and maybe play in some of the lower-stakes games, so he’s exceeded his own outlook this year.

“I think having both goalies that are pretty good, we push each other harder in practice to compete against each other more,” Schave said. “It’s helping us get better.”

Frankly, Kraft said the competition component of having a duo between the pipes breeds development among the two goalies.

“Coaches want the competition at practice,” Kraft said. “I wouldn’t say they approach practice in a way that, ‘I have to win this practice to play the next game.’ They know there’s another good goalie on the roster. They want to do their best and they want to be the one that’s between the pipes. They seem to understand that there’s some games where they might not be.”

One positive that stands out to Kraft between Schave and Vick is that the two have handled it with grace. They haven’t shown any animosity between sharing the starting role.

“They obviously both want to play, but I will say this about them: Out of all the times I’ve had to deal with this, they’ve probably embraced it the best,” Kraft said. “They at least haven’t shown to me any animosity about who’s playing and who’s not playing. They really support each other very well. The team is doing tremendous with both of them in net. It can be tough. Henry is having an outstanding season and he’s also made some way for Zach.”

In fact, both goalies agreed that it’s nice having a goalie beside them who they know can handle playing on varsity in a scenario where one is having an off night.

“It’s really nice. Sometimes there is that relief where if you have a bad game, you do have someone to back you up,” Vick said. “It will still get you mad because you’re not starting. You want to start, but it gives you some relief that when you have a bad day, the other goalie can work it.”

And in some cases, like if one is injured, there’s quality to take over for a period of time. That’s why Kraft said he’d prefer this unique problem to have and will have for the next three to four seasons.

“Personally, I think I would rather have two because it’s the most important positon in the game,” Kraft said. “If something were to happen to one, you have another one. It has been quite handy. Also, it’s made our practices better because we have a really talented goalie on both ends of the ice that’s stopping pucks and playing well.”

Follow Mark McMullen on Twitter @mmcmull2 or contact him at 920-356-6754.

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