For the second straight year, the Ohio State men’s hockey team has a fierce competition at goalie.
Junior Dustin Carlson and sophomore Cal Heeter are again battling for time between the pipes.
“I got my chance last year to play, I played the first game at Denver and the next game in Michigan,” Heeter said. “Then Dusty [Carlson] really got on a roll and coaches just stuck with him.”
Carlson went on to have one of the best seasons in OSU history. He recorded 21 wins, fourth in program history, and four shutouts, which is third in program history. Carlson’s 1,014 saves last season ranked second in the conference and fifth in program history.
Consequently, Heeter finished the season with only three starts. However, with the new season, the competition has been renewed.
Heeter said he was told at the end of last season “If you come in and work hard you’re going to have your chances to play and you’ll just have to prove yourself in games.”
So far this season, Heeter has taken full advantage of his opportunities winning two of his three starts. His wins came against No. 3 Denver in a 4-0 victory and against Lake Superior State by a score of 4-3.
While Heeter has thrived in the early season, Carlson has struggled. Carlson has failed to record a win in his three starts this season, but his record isn’t necessarily due to his own play, coach John Markell said.
“One guy right now is the recipient of more goals than the other,” Markell said.
The Buckeyes have scored nine goals in Heeter’s three starts while scoring just four goals in Carlson’s.
“Both of them are going to have the opportunity to play and that’s part of being a team,” Markell said.
So far, the teammates seem unaffected by the rotation.
“As far as playing one game a weekend, I think in some ways its easier,” Heeter said. “But if they call on me to play two, that’s not going to bother me either.”
The duo also seems to have embraced the situation, and worked with each other to improve.
“It’s a healthy competition between us. We push each other to be the best,” Heeter said.
Heeter and Carlson will continue to push each other in the Buckeyes’ next two games against No. 11 Notre Dame.
The games are Friday at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday at 5:05 p.m. at Notre Dame.