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ISSUE 119 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/17/2006

Goldsworthy reflects on season

By Joel Stjernholm
Staff Writer

Friday, March 17, 2006

2005-06 was a banner year for the St. Olaf men’s hockey team and their head coach Sean Goldsworthy ‘94. The team defeated conference powers St. John’s and St. Thomas en route to their first MIAC title of any kind since 1938, before falling to UW-Superior in the NCAA Regionals. Messenger reporter Matt Stortz recently sat down with “Goldy” to discuss the state of his team.

Stortz: First things first, congratulations on your MIAC title. Goldsworthy: Thank you. It was fun. A lot of hard work. Our season's so long, there's ups and downs, but we pulled together and played the way I thought we could.

S: The team had a few “downs” in its first 10 games. How did you turn it around? G: One thing people need to understand regarding our schedule is that we're going to play nationally ranked teams early for the main purpose that I want to find out who we are and what we have in our depth. Our first four games were against nationally ranked programs, including UW Superior who we played in the NCAA tournament. I could schedule a lot of creampuffs and be 8-1 after the first nine, and we could feel really good about ourselves, but then come February or March we would have a false sense of security and wouldn't be making the playoffs.

S: Speaking of the playoffs, your team defeated both St. John’s and St. Thomas to win the MIAC title. G: We're built to win the MIAC. I'm not going to make any excuses about that. In order to win the MIAC you've got to find a way to beat St. John's and St. Thomas, so our system and our personnel are built and recruited to win those games. And I think it showed: We were 4-2 against those teams who were both ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

S: What will next year's iteration look like without this season's seniors? G: We're losing some key players in our lineup. The leadership part will be a big piece of it. We're losing five guys who understand what I'm trying to get done here. A lot of its got nothing to do with individual egos and stats; it has more to do with the team. These guys believed in that and I think it rippled through our program this year. That's probably going to be the biggest adjustment for next year's team.

S: Goalie Dan Kehler is graduating. What is the goalie situation? G: DK is an unbelievable goalie. He's someone who can sit back and not only give you a chance to win every night, but at times he'll win you the game. He's proven that he’s one of the best goalies in the nation. In all honesty, we have a junior in Jeff Wilde who is going to pick up right where Dan left off. He's going to be a playoff goaltender and an All-MIAC goalie next year for us as a senior. Jeff Wilde is one heck of a goalie. He can play hockey.

S: It must feel good to win St. Olaf's first MIAC men's hockey title. G: It's another year of firsts. But I think our guys are pretty humble. They understand the preparation and how much work they have to put in. We have a lot of talent here, but our guys are hungry. I don't think our guys are satisfied, and if they are, they’re going to have to deal with me.

S: You've built this team brick-by-brick. That can't be easy. G: It doesn't happen overnight – the answer is hard work. Make no mistake about it. You can turn things around quickly and maybe have some luck, but we did it the hard way building year by year. There's no secret to it. There really isn't. It's 16-hour days and players putting in a great off-season. It doesn't happen by mistake.

S: Given your recent coaching success, what will you say when Division I programs call with job offers? G: If by some chance that happens, fine, but St. Olaf is the place that changed my life. I'm not going anywhere.

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