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February 14, 2012

Ostergard becomes the man in net for RMU

If there had been one constant through the first ten games of the calendar year for the Colonials, it would be the starting goaltenders over any given weekend. Showing confidence in both of his netminders, head coach Derek Schooley had split Brooks Ostergard and Eric Levine through each of the first five weekends in 2012.

Friday night in Mercyhurst, Ostergard got the call, with Robert Morris falling by a 3-1 final. By no means was it a horrible loss, but a loss nonetheless. We humans tend to be creatures of habit; therefore, one may have assumed that Levine would get the nod on Saturday. Schooley and his staff had other ideas.

Ostergard backstopped his team to a 4-2 victory, playing an entire weekend for the first time since early December. The senior Hobey Baker Award nominee did not disappoint on either occasion.

"Brooks was fine," Schooley said. "He didn't have a chance on any of the goals (Friday) night. I'm sure that he would probably like to have the first one back (Saturday), it hit him and went through him, but he has played in a lot of big games for us."

Ostergard boosted his record to 8-9-2 over the two game series, and he possesses a .938 save percentage within the AHA. The goaltender was more than pleased to receive both starts, and talked about the advantages of getting game action both nights.

"It helps you to get in a groove a little bit going forward," Ostergard said. "Coach Schooley has kept a lot of confidence in me, so hopefully that reflects in my play on the ice. You get in a rhythm which makes it easier for back to back starts, so I was very appreciative of that."

As Ostergard's confidence rose over the weekend, so did that of his teammates who are happy for the man they call 'Osty' to get a full series under his belt once again.

"We have a lot of confidence in both our goalies but (Ostergard) is a senior right now and it's his net," forward Nick Chiavetta said. "We have all the confidence in him in the world and we want him to get going for playoffs here."

Captain Trevor Lewis echoed his teammate's sentiments, and was pleased that the rest of the club was able to provide some goal support for their netminder.

"I thought he played really well (Friday) night, but we didn't give him a lot of help," Lewis said. "Those goals weren't his fault, so to come back with him again tonight was just us showing him we have a lot of faith in him and he deserves to still be in net. I thought he played great again tonight and he gave us a good chance to win."

Ostergard also gave credit to the guys in front of him for being on the top of their game, which in turn gives him an added boost.

"(Friday), we were not upset with our effort, but we could've been a little more efficient and grittier around the net," the native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio said. "This time, we put everything together. All facets of our team were clicking tonight, and I tip my hat to my teammates. They played great."

From the sounds of things, it would appear that Ostergard will get at least a few more starts down the stretch. With only four games to go, Schooley and his staff felt it was imperative to start leaning towards one goaltender, and "Osty" was the choice.

"We made the decision as a staff that we wanted to start getting it down to a one man rotation," Schooley said. "It's no disrespect to Eric Levine, but Brooks Ostergard is a guy that we were going to run out twice this weekend and see how he did, and he didn't disappoint us."

It remains to be seen whether or not Ostergard will get the remaining four starts, beginning this weekend with two on the road against RIT, and finishing up with the final series of the year against Air Force. What is clear, however, is that the confidence is present for the goaltender, and his teammates will be relying on him to be there when necessary.

"I think how we do is going to be based off of his play," Chiavetta said. "I think goaltending is one of the biggest things out here and it's very important for him to get going."

Perhaps Ostergard continuing to go will become the new constant in Colonial hockey. Four more wins wouldn't hurt, either.

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