Given the Nod

Ferris senior goaltender off to a 6-2-0 start, ranked 7th in nation

by Published: Dec 1, 2011

Men’s Hockey: FSU senior goaltender Taylor Nelson is currently ranked 7th in the nation. Nelson has helped the Bulldogs earn a record of 6-2-0 thus far in the 2011-12 season. Torch File Photo

Men’s Hockey: FSU senior goal­tender Taylor Nelson is cur­rently ranked 7th in the nation. Nelson has helped the Bulldogs earn a record of 6−2−0 thus far in the 2011-12 sea­son. Torch File Photo

The sea­son senior Ferris goal­tender Taylor Nelson has put together may come as a sur­prise to some after he played lim­ited min­utes in his junior year.

Last sea­son Nelson played in four games as he stepped aside while for­mer Ferris goal­tender Pat Nagle started 37 games to fin­ish his senior year. During Nelson’s fresh­man and sopho­more sea­son the two ten­ders split starts.

Nelson then served as Nagle’s back-up goalie and earned only two starts dur­ing his junior year. Although Nelson wanted to be on the ice more last year, he did not let his lim­ited min­utes dis­cour­age him.

“Obviously it’s tough on a guy. There will be lots of games where you don’t actu­ally see the ice, but it’s your job to pre­pare your­self like you’re play­ing in every game,” Nelson said. “Your moti­va­tion is that at any point a door could open and that’s your oppor­tu­nity and you have to go out there and make that oppor­tu­nity happen.”

Nelson, a Saskatchewan native, began play­ing hockey around the age of four. Nelson’s par­ents never pushed him to be a hockey player. Instead, it was Nelson’s pas­sion for the sport that kept him return­ing to the rink every­day. His parent’s sup­port was what kept him going.

“The amount of sup­port that my fam­ily and friends have given me to pur­sue hockey and keep going is all part of the rea­son why I started play­ing hockey,” Nelson said.

When Nelson first began play­ing hockey, he played half of his games as a defense­man and half as a goalie. Though any chance he could, Nelson would play more in net. He started play­ing goal­tender full­time when he was nine years old.

“It’s hard to explain how you want to become a goalie. I think it’s just an itch that some­one gets,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s favorite play­ers grow­ing up were always goal­tenders and he thinks that may have influ­enced his deci­sion to become a goalie. Former NHL goal­tender Felix Potvin inspired Nelson to choose his num­ber, 29.

“A lot of peo­ple say that to be a goal­tender you have to be a dif­fer­ent breed of per­son. Often times goalies come off a lit­tle weird,” Nelson said. “I’d like to think I’m a pretty nor­mal guy but any time there’s a slap shot being shot at you at 100 miles an hour, you start to ques­tion yourself.”

Nelson’s abnor­mal­i­ties have helped him rack up a 6−2−0 record this season.

“He’s a goalie, so goalies are odd in their own way,” senior cen­ter Jordie Johnston said.

Nelson’s abil­ity to defend the net has made him a 7th-ranked goal­tender in the nation, accord­ing to U.S. College Hockey Online.

“He has always been a really good, solid goalie,” Johnston said. “But I think he also has been putting in a lot of extra time look­ing at video and I think that has helped his game a lot.”

Although Nelson is a senior, he is unsure of what he wants to do after he grad­u­ates with a mar­ket­ing degree. He worked dur­ing the sum­mer in a goal­tend­ing pro­fes­sional shop train­ing young goal­tenders this year, and found he enjoyed the experience.

Nelson said he liked teach­ing young goalies how to play the posi­tion and how to play the sport he loves to play. He also liked being able to help teach them respon­si­bil­ity, deter­mi­na­tion and discipline.

Nelson’s ulti­mate goal is to con­tinue play­ing hockey after graduation.

“All I really know is hockey,” Nelson said. “Getting a chance to play pro­fes­sion­ally is ulti­mately what a guy works towards and I want to con­tinue play­ing hockey.”