Sports

After career twists, goalie shines in last game

By
Sports Editor
Monday, March 22, 2010

Goalie Dan Rosen ’10 was once the bright future of Brown hockey.

Plagued by injuries, Rosen’s career slowly slid downhill until he was made the backup in his senior season. But in his last game wearing a Brown uniform, Rosen got one more chance to start in goal Saturday. And he made the most of it.

In the Bears’ 3-0 win over St. Lawrence, the goalie played flawlessly. Rosen had 21 saves in the shut-out and even got an assist on the game’s first goal.

“We were all just hugging and crying in the locker room,” Rosen said after the game. “The team just gave it all out for me today and that means a lot — after, not just for me personally, but the number of injuries and bad times that we’ve had … to have everybody come together today and get a win in this game is really special.”

Rosen’s play was a reminder of the promising career everyone expected him to have.

As a freshman, he earned second team All-Ivy honors and etched his name in the Brown record books towards the top of the list in every major goalie statistical category. For eight weeks in a row, he led the nation in goals against average and save percentage.

His statistics were less impressive during his sophomore year, but he still started 25 games. By the time Rosen was a junior, the once-decorated freshman was battling a hip injury and fighting for ice time with a new young talent — Michael Clemente ’12.

As a freshman, Clemente played the hero in last season’s playoff series with Harvard, in which Clemente became the only opposing goalie to shut out Harvard in back-to-back home games in Crimson hockey history, which dates back to the nineteenth century.

“We both had very high levels of success our freshman years,” Rosen said, without a hint of resentment of his teammate in his voice. “It was kind of interesting to see it from the other standpoint, as the goalie that wasn’t playing at that point.”

The hiring of first-year Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 last offseason reopened the battle for the goalie slot, but Clemente again won the starting job.

Rather than harbor any bitterness in his senior season, Rosen said he was thankful for his opportunities in his first three seasons and supportive of Clemente in his last.

“I was pretty fortunate and I was lucky to be able to play a large portion of the games my first three years,” Rosen said. After returning from a groin injury this season, “I just tried to be as best of a team player as I could, because Mike was playing really well this year.”

The support didn’t go unappreciated by Clemente. Clemente called Rosen “one of the most supportive and helpful teammates that anyone could ask for.”

This season has been a struggle for Rosen. He got his first start on Nov. 17 when Brown played at Providence. But just less than two minutes into the game, he felt a pop in his groin and fell to the ice in pain. As he was helped off of the ice by a teammate and the trainer, Rosen looked down at the ice, shaking his head.

“Given that it was my first chance to play with the new coach, I really wanted to make a good statement in my first game,” he said. “To have (the injury) happen, it was just very frustrating.”

The groin injury kept him out of uniform for seven games, and he wasn’t back on the ice until 10 games after he was helped off it.

Rosen struggled in his two regular season appearances after the injury, and with the Bears locked in a race for playoff home ice at the end of the season, Rosen didn’t even play on Senior Night. In fact, he asked not to.

The night before, Whittet called Rosen into his office, sat him down and told him face-to-face that Clemente was going to start on Senior Night.

“I was glad he did that,” Rosen said. “I told him I didn’t want to get a pity start on Senior Night.” Instead, he said he wanted Clemente to go out and win it for the Bears.

Even this weekend — Rosen’s last games of collegiate hockey — he maintained the selfless attitude. After the Bears lost to Cornell in the opening round of the Final Four, Whittet asked Rosen if he wanted to have one more start in goal for the consolation game.
It was a question Rosen wished his coach didn’t have to ask.

“To be honest, we all — including myself — would have rather had Mike … playing in the championship game today,” Rosen said.

But Rosen had spent all season backing up the position he once held so firmly, and in his last game, he took the opportunity to get one more start.

“Dan’s a selfless guy,” Whittet said after Rosen shut out St. Lawrence in the final game of the season. “Dan was a guy that bided his time, and he was unbelievable tonight. It was a tribute to him.”

Twenty-one saves, no goals against and one assist — what a way to go out for Rosen, who said the bright future now belongs to Clemente.

“Mike’s a great goalie, and this team is going to do a lot of special things with him in net,” Rosen said. “They’ll be back in Albany and they’ll win it with him there.”