Cloutier: Patience is a Virtue
“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!
With the regular season back underway after the Christmas break, our team had what was supposed to be a fairly easy weekend starting January 4th, playing teams in both last and second-to-last place. After a solid 8-4 win on Friday night at home, we had an away game against the last-place team on Sunday.
With our veteran goalie having a good game Friday, he got the start again Sunday. What should have been an easy two points, turned into one of the worst losses of the year. No one on the team was ready to play, and already down 4-0, I stepped into the game to start the second period. The rest of the game was no better.
Needless to say, the team was in need of some changes, and with the trade deadline, we moved a number of players out in what will be the beginning of a rebuilding phase for next season. This past weekend started out with a great effort against one of the top teams, but in the end we fell short in a 7-5 loss. Sunday was a 60-minute effort all around, and the team earned our veteran goalie his first shutout of the year with a 6-0 win.
Over the past two weeks, I haven’t played as much as I would have liked, but when the other goalie is playing well, all you can do is continue to work hard and eventually you will get your chance. I like to approach my situation here in Kahnawake with the same mentality that I assume Corey Schneider approached his position in Vancouver.
With Kahnawake already having a very good starting goalie in Maxime Belanger, I understood when I arrived here that I might not get a lot of playing time. Belanger, being one of the most sought after and iconic goalies in the league, has really taught me a lot this year. Being behind him has really taught me how to fight for my playing time. Growing up, for the most part my coaches have always given goalies fair playing time, at least in the regular season. So coming here and having to really fight for time in the net is a new thing for me.
Another new thing I have had to deal with is the schedule of junior hockey; playing two or three games a weekend and practicing three times a week, it’s rare to have a day off. Having two goalies like Belanger and myself is one of the best things a team can ask for in my opinion. With a proven starting goalie in Belanger, you have a reliable starter; in myself, being my first year playing junior hockey, you have a goaltender who knows he can play in this league, but maybe isn’t quite at the same level of a true starting goalie at this point.
But with age comes maturity, and with maturity comes the ability to handle a bigger workload, handle more pressure, and be able to mentor younger goalies when you’re in the starting position.
As the end of the season draws closer, games get more important and points are harder to come by. Coaches want to do everything they can to win, and I understand that I may not play a lot the rest of the season. But like Schneider did in Vancouver, all I can do is wait for my opportunity and understand that, eventually, I will get a chance to prove myself.
And when that time comes, I’ll have to make the most of it.