The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 1, 2012

Recipe for MSU goalie Cook: Look ahead

MANKATO — Phil Cook isn’t a history major at Minnesota State, and as a goaltender that’s probably a good thing.

“The past is the past,” the senior said this week.

For Cook, the past has seen the best of times and the worst of times.

The best? Probably the weekend he saved 82 of 85 shots, including a 49-save second-game performance, in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep over Minnesota two seasons ago.

The worst? A rough patch early last season that relegated him to the bench for several weeks.

“Especially the beginning of last year,” he said. “I try not to bring it up.”

Cook recovered from that stretch, which saw him allow nine goals on just 11 shots in a pair of abbreviated appearances, and had a strong second half of the season. In 11 starts over January and February, Cook won seven games, including a shutout of Wisconsin. His goals-against average dropped by more than three goals a game, and his save percentage rose by more than 100 points.

Cook is the likely starter tonight when MSU plays at No. 2 Minnesota, and the Mavericks hope he can play like the goalie of two years ago in Mankato. (He backed up Austin Lee in two games, both losses, at Mariucci Arena last season.)

“We need Cook,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. “Night in and night out. The opportunity is there.”

Cook has started four of the Mavericks’ first six games this season and relieved rookie Stephon Williams in Saturday night’s 5-1 loss at St. Cloud State.

His solid play in MSU’s home-opening weekend allowed the Mavericks to come from behind twice to tie and win a pair of overtime games against Rensselaer. A week later, however, he took the loss in a 5-1 WCHA opener at St. Cloud.

“There are certain expectations of goalies here,” Cook said. “Five goals on 20-some shots both nights is unacceptable.”

For his career, Cook is 27-28-7 with a .899 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against average.

This week, both Cook and Hastings remembered the coach’s meeting with players during his interview for the coaching job. Cook raised his hand and asked Hastings what his goaltending philosophy is.

It was pretty simple.

“As long as you stop the puck you’re going to play,” Cook recalled Hastings saying.

After getting the gig, Hastings was fond of saying, even with a lot of young talent on the team, his seniors would have to lead the way. Hastings usually mentioned captains Eriah Hayes and Tyler Elbrecht first. But the next name out of his mouth was always Cook.

“He expects a lot from us,” Cook said. “And it’s my senior year; I expect a lot of myself.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints


Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox Jack White throws first pitch for hometown Tigers LeSean McCoy explains how Chip Kelly has helped his productivity Chicago Cubs win longest game in team history Will Browns have enough without Gordon? Byron Scott: 'This is still a Lakers town' Anderson Silva To Return To UFC, Face Nick Diaz - @TheBuzzeronFox Bills Legend on Bon Jovi's Bid: "F-ck Bon Jovi" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Settlement sets new standards for NCAA Possible MLB trades before deadline 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox