THE MEN BEHIND THE MASKS

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by Amit Shilton 

One goalie has been shown the door and another welcomed as head coach Mick Mitrovic tries to turn around his beleaguered pucks program.

While goalies Joel Schriver and Mark Furman are returning, Alex Turgeon-Côté was asked not to come back. Pierre Beaulieu has replaced Turgeon-Côté on the roster this season.

Turgeon-Côté was recruited by former Ryerson coach Ed Kirsten, who was released in December of 2004. Turgeon-Côté, a Montreal native, said that when Mitrovic took over the team, he didn’t feel as comfortable as a Ram.

“Mick didn’t really like me from the beginning,” he said. “I think Eddie (Kirsten) really liked me. With Mick, I didn’t feel it.”

Mitrovic made it clear to Turgeon-Côté that he wouldn’t be back this year.

“He thought he could play, he wasn’t able to play,” Mitrovic said.

Controversy stemmed from an incident where Turgeon-Côté was talking with the backup goalie of Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières before a game. Turgeon-Côté was talking, en français, with his childhood teammate.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to come back,” Turgeon-Côté said.

“I had a lot of fun with these guys,” he added. Turgeon-Côté is now playing for Métro-Gagnon, a semi-pro team near Quebec City. The team is scoring goals but searching for consistency between the pipes.

Meanwhile, Mitrovic said he is impressed with the Rams’s scoring ability and is looking for the goaltending to keep the team in their games.

“With the team that we had last year, we needed a wall to be in that net. Schriver could only stop so many shots. I need a goaltender that can make the easy saves 100 per cent of the time,” Mitrovic said.

Beaulieu, Turgeon-Côté’s replacement, spent last season playing in a tier-three Austrian pro league. The rookie was shaky in his first start, letting in seven goals in Ryerson’s 8-7 pre-season loss to Carleton University.

The Rams have tightened up defensively, which should help Schriver, who let in three goals in a 3-0 loss to Queen’s University last weekend.

“Schriver is the incumbent right now,” said Mitrovic of the returning goalie. “Right now it’s his position to lose. He played well last year for us.”

Mitrovic also had high praises for Furman, who joined the team as a walk-on last year.

“(Furman) has got cat-like reflexes. He is the most agile goaltender that we have,” Mitrovic said.

“He’s completely unorthodox and that is incredible. He was a walk-on last year. If he continues to play that way, then the number one spot is going to be difficult to determine.”

Last year, Turgeon-Côté, Schriver and Furman split playing time under both coaches. Mitrovic would like to play just Schriver or Furman if they stay consistent.

“If one goalie can go the entire 24 games, he’ll go the entire 24 games.”

Mitrovic hopes that the competition will encourage both Schriver and Furman’s play.

“I’d rather have two solid goaltenders that are interchangeable although I won’t play them that way. That keeps the other one going.”

The Rams open their season on Oct. 20 in Guelph.

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