After 31 saves in 5-1 victory, Beydoun may be Michigan Tech’s answer in goal
HOUGHTON — Before Saturday’s game against Ferris State (9-10-1, 6-5-1-0 WCHA), freshman goalie Robbie Beydoun had made just one start and hadn’t recorded a full game in goal. He appeared in three contests for the Huskies, totaling 69 minutes of play.
But when Patrick Munson struggled against Ferris on Friday, giving up four goals, head coach Joe Shawhan called on Beydoun in an attempt to turn things around. The Huskies still lost, but the freshman goalie tallied six saves and didn’t give up a goal. His play was enough to earn Beydoun the start on Saturday, which turned into his first full game, first career win and a 5-1 Huskies victory over Ferris State at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“Robbie did a great job for us,” Shawhan said. “That is as good of a game as we have had in goal all year. He gave us a chance when we weren’t firing on all cylinders to start the game, and then he stayed aggressive throughout the game.”
Beydoun woke up Saturday morning and was told he would start. His last nod came on Oct. 21 against Alabama Huntsville, where he played just nine minutes before getting pulled. Since then, Beydoun has devoted extra energy to get better in practice. He had one goal in mind: start another game.
His effort didn’t go unnoticed.
“It is not easy to go that long without playing because everyone was an impact player before they got here … When you get here, sometimes you have to develop into a role guy in order to survive,” Shawhan said. “He has done a great job not questioning himself and having confidence in himself to work through it.”
When his name was called this morning, Beydoun fought off some understandable pre-game jitters and mentally prepared for the contest.
But things didn’t get off to a great start for Beydoun. The Bulldogs struck first at 15:45 when he misplayed a clear attempt and the puck ended up on the stick of Jasen Fernsler who capitalized and gave Ferris a 1-0 lead.
The play was a bizarre combination of bad luck and a poorly timed mistake, but Beydoun didn’t let it rattle him. After all, he has waited a long time for this start, so one goal wasn’t going to change his mindset.
“I just stuck to my game plan and knew I was going to be fine,” Beydoun said. “I’ve been playing this game for a long time. Goals are going to happen, so I knew if I just focused on the next play everything would be OK.”
Instead of folding under the added pressure, the young netminder didn’t allow another goal and finished with 31 saves.
“He has faced some adversity lately because in his first start I pulled him early — right or wrong — I probably shouldn’t have but I did,” Shawhan said. “And then today after that first goal, he could have gotten rattled but he didn’t. He settled right back in and made some tremendous saves. And you could see the guys gaining confidence around him.”
As the game progressed, Beydoun built confidence and tallied some difficult saves down the stretch. Five minutes into the third period, Ferris State’s Liam MacDougal skated around the Tech defense into a breakaway situation, going one-on-one with Beydoun. The goalie came out on top, causing Husky fans to erupt with loud cheers.
Beydoun was aided by an offensive cushion as Tech scored five unanswered goals. The first came with two minutes left in the opening period when Ferris turned the puck over and senior Alex Gillies converted the mistake into a breakaway goal, tying the game at 1.
It was the Huskies first taste of offensive success on the night, but they truly found their stride in the second period, scoring three goals. The three-goal flurry started at 11:09 in the period when Jake Lucchini played a deflection back into the goal, falling backward as he shot. It was his fourth goal of the season.
Then Tech added another from Alex Smith, who has three goals and four assists over the last five games. Dylan Steman was responsible for Tech’s fourth goal, and Jake Jackson capped off the scoring with his third goal in five games. Smith and Jackson are part of Tech’s most dominant line, skating with captain Brent Baltus.
The four goals didn’t serve as a comfort to Beydoun. Instead, he finished out the game as though they hadn’t been scored.
“When you get a big lead like that as a goalie it can be easy to take your foot off the throttle,” he said. “But I play every possession like it’s an overtime possession. That’s what I’ve always done.”
The strategy worked, and Beydoun and the Huskies coasted to victory, splitting the weekend series with Ferris.
Next up, Tech (8-7-4, 6-6-4-1 WCHA) takes on Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. in the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Huskies are currently third in the WCHA standings.
– – –
Ferris State 1 0 0 – 1
Michigan Tech 1 3 1 – 5
FSU- Jasen Fernsler, 15:45, 1-0.
Tech- Alex Gillies, 18:14, 1-1.
Tech- Jake Lucchini (Gavin Gould, Keegan Ford), 11:09, 2-1.
Tech- Alex Smith (Mitch Reinke, Mark Auk), 14:19, 3-1
Tech- Dylan Steman (Seasmus Donohue), 17:01, 4-1
Tech- Jake Jackson (Alex Smith, Brent Baltus)
FSU, Darren Smith 7, Justin Kapelmaster 21; Tech, Robbie Beydoun 31.
FSU: 8/16; Tech: 10/20
FSU: 0/6; MTU 1/4