Cloutier: The Winter Break Blues
“Cloutier’s Corner” is the personal blog of Canadian goalie Logan Cloutier, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship. Logan currently plays for the Kahnawake Condors in Quebec, and has battled through a season-ending knee injury and a concussion. You can follow him on Twitter at @lcloutier30 and follow his blog as he tries to earn that magical college scholarship!
As university classes came to a close for the fall semester, finals crept closer and the mood of everyone attending school in our locker room changed.
Myself, wanting to keep my NCAA eligibility, decided to take chemistry as my only class this semester. Having not taken chemistry in a full two years since grade 11 of high school, it was tough to regain the mindset needed to process the amount and quality of information provided.
Studying three hours a day for a week prior to my exam gave me a new perspective on the difficulty of being a student-athlete. Having a full course load and playing hockey, or any sport for that matter, at university is no easy task. With three games scheduled in four days on the weekend of Dec. 8, the team was under a lot of stress to perform. Thursday night was a huge game against one of our biggest rivals, the second-placed College Francais de Longeuil.
After being given the night off, and suffering a fairly embarrassing 7-1 loss Thursday, I was given the start Friday night against fourth-placed Sherbrooke. Knowing our team would be upset with our performance the previous night, I knew that if I kept it close in the first period, that we would be able to pick up a much needed two points.
Going into the third period, we had a very comfortable 6-2 lead. But for some reason, the team came out of the locker room flat-footed, and Sherbrooke quickly capitalized on a couple defensive zone breakdowns and pulled the game to 6-5. With only a few minutes remaining, we were able to stave off the comeback and managed to pick up the win. Having faced only 19 shots in the first two periods, I had 29 launched my way in the third.
Sunday was another important game against fifth-placed Ste. Agathe. Because we played three tough games in four short days, I was given the start again, but it seemed as though our team was still flat as we started the first period. We were playing the same way as the third period on Friday night. After two back-door goals and two goals on two clear shots from the slot, I was relieved by our other goalie.
The rest of the game wasn’t too much better, and we suffered another tough loss in a game that we should have had a chance to win. As the weekend came to a close, we felt disappointed, picking up only two of six points.
Maybe it was the fact that everyone was more focused on their exams, or stressed because of final projects, but after a below average weekend, and a tough practice Tuesday night, we knew that we had a chance to pick up six points the following weekend.
This week, we’re playing another three games in four nights. It includes a home-and-home against the twelfth-place Valleyfield, and a game on Sunday against the fourteenth-placed Vaudreuil. It’s another weekend where we have a chance to pick up six points before Christmas.
—[ THE GOALIE GUILD INTERVIEW WITH CLOUTIER: PART 1 ]—
TGG: Talk about your goaltending style. What are your biggest strengths in the crease? What makes you successful?
LC: “I believe that my main strength in the crease is my technical play, I feel like for the most part I am very technically sound. I have worked extensively with numerous goalie coaches and have taken certain aspects from each of their repertoires I believe I have built my game around a butterfly style, but doing anything it takes to make desperation saves if necessary. I believe I am successful because of my style, being technically sound, but still being able to make desperation saves if necessary. I also believe that I read plays and see the ice fairly well which helps me anticipate what will happen.”
TGG: Discuss your off-ice training routine and talk about what things you try to do off the ice to improve your game.
LC: “Ever since my knee injury in October 2011, I have taken my off-ice training much more seriously. I train extensively with Greg Kozoris, a well known trainer in the hockey industry in Western Canada. This past off season was focused around getting my legs strong again and getting back in game shape. Now that the season has started, I am focusing more on foot speed and all around strength. The biggest thing I need to improve is my foot speed and upper body strength and that is my main focus this season.”
TGG: What are some of your hobbies outside of hockey? Besides a goalie, what do you want to be when you grow up?
LC: “Outside hockey I really enjoy outdoor sports, as a kid I grew up rock climbing, spending summers on my family’s sailboat, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. However over the past couple of summers, off season training has become extremely important and I haven’t had as much time to spend doing all the things that I’d like to do, but I still manage to get out and go mountain biking quite often. School has always been important to me, and I take my schooling seriously. My dream has always been to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports injuries, using hockey to get me there.”