That team got a Himmie?
Being the starting goaltender at Duluth Central is a busy job. Getting a day off is hard to come by. Joey Himmelspach doesn't seem to mind. "I like it that way," said Himmelspach, the senior netminder for the Trojans. "I would rather be in the ga...
Being the starting goaltender at Duluth Central is a busy job. Getting a day off is hard to come by.
Joey Himmelspach doesn't seem to mind.
"I like it that way," said Himmelspach, the senior netminder for the Trojans. "I would rather be in the game."
Toward the end of his sophomore season, Himmelspach replaced starting goaltender Trevor Burns in a game after Burns had been ejected. Nearly two year later, Himmelspach has remained in goal for 35 consecutive games, very rare these days for a goaltender at any level.
Last season, Himmelspach started all 27 games for the Trojans, had five shutouts, and was a big reason why the team went 15-11-1.
"Joey's a competitor," said coach Adam Shykes, who is in his seventh season at Central, fifth as head coach. "He shows up ready to play."
Four games into the 2003-04 campaign, Central is 3-1 with its only loss coming in overtime to Superior.
In those four games, the Trojans have scored 17 goals, making Himmelspach's job a little easier.
"Our team has been putting the puck in the net," said Himmelspach. "I thought I was going to have to keep the goals against down to one a game."
With forwards like seniors Ben Brose, Danny Cannon and Seth Anderson doing their job on offense, Himmelspach has taken care of the rest of the work with the help of defensemen like junior Tim Kleiman and senior Brian Kregness.
Since the tender age of six, Himmelspach has found his home in the net. He first got interested in the position because he saw his cousin Terry Dunbar, a 2000 Proctor graduate, playing goalie. Dunbar is in his senior season at Marian College in Wisconsin.
"My parents thought I was crazy when I wanted to be a goalie," said Himmelspach. "But they knew I was taking after my cousin."
New to the Trojans this year is the addition of goalie coach Cory Lonke. Lonke, a former Cloquet and St. Scholastica goaltender, has been working with Himmelspach and freshman backup goaltender Jesse Mattila, helping the two improve their game.
"He's been working with me quite a bit," said Himmelspach. "It's been nice to have a goalie coach."
"Cory has done a good job," said Shykes. "He pushes Joey."
Of the 11 goals Himmelspach has surrendered in his first four games, five have been while Central has been a man down. Penalty trouble is one thing the Trojans would like to avoid.
"We're not as disciplined as I would like," said Shykes. "We need to take less penalties and play our positions better."
Because of his dependability in goal, Himmelspach has solidified his status as one of the top goaltenders in the area.
"It's a tremendous relief having him in goal," said Shykes. "He's a mature goaltender and self-motivated."
Central is in the midst of a tough three-game stretch against rivals Denfeld, Cloquet and East.
"It's the hardest week in hockey," said Himmelspach. "If you look ahead you're not going to win."
"Hands down it's the toughest stretch of games all year," said Shykes. "We need to take it one game at a time and lay it all out there."
On Saturday, Central has a tough test against Cloquet in a 5 p.m. game at the DECC.
It doesn't get any easier when the Trojans meet East on Tuesday, Dec. 23, at 7 p.m. at the DECC.
Shykes and his team know that with a strong effort and disciplined play, they have a chance to win with Himmelspach between the pipes.
"We're a little spoiled," said Shykes. "We have a guy who's going to give us a shot every game."