Over the weekend a series of games presented themselves to me as tightly wrapped enigmas that ultimately cast me into a black hole of the unknown. But it’s my fault; I seem to be leaning more towards trends and patterns right now when it comes to my goalie analysis. So three different riddles prodded my mind and as I poked around for answers, it only seemed fitting to surmise my thoughts and discuss them all of Dobber Nation.
ONE OF THREE: IS THE DU-CC RIVALRY GUARANTEED TO BREED AN ELITE NHL GOALIE?
The progression of NCAA goalies over the past five seasons has been well-documented this year thanks to the likes of Brian Elliott, Jon Quick and others. Combined with Marty Turco, Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas, the core of young NCAA products have proven in some way this year that the NCAA is definitely a viable source of goaltending talent.
But peel back another layer and you’ll see a good number of NCAA products in the NHL coming from WCHA teams. That includes two teams in particular – the University of Denver Pioneers and Colorado College Tigers. The bitter rivals constantly play in big-time games against each other in the playoffs, ultimately harvesting and creating NHL talent for decades. Yes, the Gold Pan Trophy is quite coveted in Colorado and both teams stop at nothing to hoist it.
Curtis McElhinney and Peter Mannino are the latest goalies from each team to crack the NHL. Before them came the DU tandem of Adam Berkhoel (briefly with the Thrashers) and then Wade Dubielewicz (playoff push with the Isles) making NHL appearances. This year it was CC’s tandem of Matt Zaba and McElhinney rising in the depth charts for their respective teams. Zaba played in the preseason for the NY Rangers and McElhinney has started a few more games this season for the Flames.
Over the weekend, however, the latest line in a breed of DU and CC goalie prospects dueled to a 1-1 tie in a game that proved they are both on their way to being legitimate NHL prospects. Cole Harbour’s own Marc Cheverie (sophomore – rights belong to Florida) made 31 saves, including 13 shots in the first and Richard Bachman made 32 saves, including all 11 in the third.
And what do you know, just over a month ago on Feb. 13, both goalies were the big stars in another tied game (3-3). Bachman carried the Tigers by making 41 saves in that game and displayed one of the league’s best goalie performances of the year. Cheverie turned aside 24 and stayed cool under the pressure of not getting