Sports

Athlete of the week: Ernst ’17 earns honor of ECAC Goalie of the Month

Sophomore spurs Brown’s second-half surge, leads ECAC in save percentage in February

By
Sports Staff Writer
Friday, March 6, 2015

It was a tumultuous three months for the men’s hockey team, which started the season 4-16-1 and seemed to be destined to live in the ECAC cellar. But in February, the team found its form, ripping off four straight wins and a six-game unbeaten streak. At the center of this revitalization was goaltender Tim Ernst ’17.

Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 switched between starting Ernst and Tyler Steel ’17 for much of the season. Ernst finally won the starting job in a Feb. 7 game against Harvard and has since compiled a 4-1-2 record. The sophomore netminder posted a .938 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average in February — metrics that would rank second and third in the ECAC, had he recorded them over a full season.

Ernst was rewarded for his play in the crease by being named ECAC Goaltender of the Month for February. For his stellar work in net and his off-the-ice accolades, Ernst has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: Growing up, did you always want to be a goalie?

Ernst: I started hockey at four or five. I tried out for a team as a player, and it was the first year you could be on a travel team. I really wanted to be on that team, and I guess I was an honest five-year-old — I looked around and realized I probably wasn’t good enough to make it. They said, “We need a goalie, and if you’re the goalie, you’ll make it.” So I said I’d be the goalie.

What do you think have been the keys to the team’s recent successes?

At the very start of the year, I think we thought we were a lot better than we were. I think we were overconfident. In the middle of the year, I think we were playing better, but we would make these weird mistakes that would cost us a goal or two and then a loss. Now, we’re playing a simpler game. It’s not as pretty, but we’re not making those mistakes anymore.

What does it mean to you to be named ECAC Goaltender of the Month? Did you ever expect that?

Oh, no, I didn’t expect it. It’s nice, but I’m trying not to think about it at all because of the huge games this weekend. ECAC Goalie of the Month isn’t going to win me any games. I think it means more to my parents, and it’ll probably be nice in a month or two, but right now, I’m focused on this weekend.

What goes through your mind when you’re on the ice as a goalie?

I try not to think about it too much. You know, stop the next shot regardless of whether the last shot was a goal or a save. The tough part about being a goalie is that you have to stop the next one whether you’re down or up five to nothing. When you’re playing well, you’re not really thinking about anything. I just try to stay relaxed and react to pucks.

Do you have any pregame rituals?

Not really, actually. I guess I’m weird in that sense. I just do the warm-up and go through it. I have a ball and throw it off the wall a ton. I’m always bouncing or throwing it. Some goalies will just not talk to people, but I don’t do any of that.

If you could play another sport, what would it be?

I played baseball growing up, and I really like pitching a lot. I think if you can be good at baseball, then you have to choose it, because those guys rake in 300 million dollars and don’t really do much.

— This interview has been edited for clarity and length.