Sports Union November 2016 - Page 29

Buffalo Junior Sabres. His journey took him to West Point. West Point isn’t for everyone. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not your normal college. Most colleges don’t learn military training. They don’t teach their 4,000 students to become leaders of men. Gahagen struggled to find his grove his freshman year on the ice. He had this pedigree but it didn’t transfer over to the ice. He struggled to find his game. Self doubt started to come in. Maybe this wasn’t the place for him. He fought himself in the crease at times, and it showed. After a disappoint freshman campaign he went to work in the offseason to get better. It was the little things he needed to work on. He didn’t need to strip his game down and start over. He just needed to fine-tune the engine. “I had a new goalie coach come in last year and he clicked with me,” stated Gahagen. “It kind of helped me simplify my game a bit. Combine that with a simpler mindset that I took into the second half of the year. It just allowed me to be more constant. Keeping that mindset from game to game just allowed me to be more constant.” The results weren’t there off the bat. But as his sophomore season went on you could see the things he worked on starting to pay off. It wasn’t until last year when it all clicked. All the work, all the sweat, all the tears he put in the offseason paid off and paid off in a big way. At one point Gahagen was putting up video game numbers. He was willing the Army Black Knights to victory. It was routine for him to have a 42-save game. It was routine to see the Black Knights winning 2-1 or 1-0 and having Gahagen in the crease. It was his crease and no one was going to take it away from him. For one stretch Gahagen was the best goaltender in the country. He knew it was in him. And last year he proved it. “It was a bit of a surprise,” stated Gahagen. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it. It’s not to say that I didn’t think it could happen. I think it was the fact that the team around me started to believe that we could win.” That was last season. It’s a new year and new expectations for the team and himself. Army was picked to finish fourth in Atlantic Hockey. That is a far cry from where they have been picked in years past. The last couple of seasons the Black Knights have been an afterthought. Air Force has been the better of the two academies. But, this isn’t the case this season. Army and Gahagen are ready to make a run toward a league title and an NCAA birth. “I think it’s holding myself to the high expectations that I set,” stated Gahagen. “Every year it’s just trying to improve a little more.” If that is to happen all eyes will be on the senior from Williamsville. He knows he can be better than last season, which is scary. He was straight filthy last year going 14-11-9 and posting a 2.01 goals against average. He wants that goals against average to be under 2.00. He wants to prove to people that last year wasn’t a fluke. Pretty much the entire team is back in front of him. Plus they added some really talented plebes into the mix. Everything is inline to fRdT$U"#b7'G5Vࠦw&VB6V6( vRfR6ƖBFV&V@RBFWvFVRWB( 7FFVBvvVfPSB6fRW&6VFvRBv2v7BVFW"#F@vVB&R'VFr7@V"( Фfrw&VBV"6V@6Vfr66R@FRWBWfVvFFRWp'VW2BFR6FVגb6FW@vWG266RF&fW767'G2F26W'f6R0FVVBgFW"7B6V6vvVV&VB6R2g&fWrF6WVwVPFV2bRvVBfR6V@2g&W6V"bF@v2WfW'76&ƗG( 7W&PRvVBfR6B'WB66WG2fR6VV2&fVVBV6V"BFW&RG&wVR'FRVrFR&7F''V2Bf&FFW'2fR6v6RFW&W7BbvvV2FW V"ƖR7BFVB&PFV2v&RFrF6RVFW"vvvV6( BWGFr&W77W&R6VbW7BF&W72FR66WG2FBv&PBGW&r2vW2( ĒBbBB&R2'GVG( 7FFVBvvV( Ē&VǒF( BWB&W77W&Rࠣ#ח6Vb( W7BvrWB@FrFR6RFw2FBv2FBFVWB&W7BW7@fF6R( ФbRFW6( BvWBFR6FFPFVRv7F'B2W@ƖfRFR֖ƗF'BFRFPbF2'F6RvvVFF( @rvB'&6Rv2vrF&RWBRv( BpFBVFFW"FRFआR2&VGFFRvFWfW 2F&vBRw0FW&R266RRv&PVFrfW'6V2B6PBGW&r2ffRזV"6֗FVBF26VG'^( 0&VGRw2FR6FVא2&W&VBvVf"FPWB6FW"b2ƖfR( Ğ( &&&ǒvrFF6WFrFBv( BvWBPFWVB( 7FFVBvvV( 0r2FW&R&V( B&P6fƖ7G2&Vr7F'FVBF6VB&RfR( ФfW"V'2RvBWBbFP6"6VW'26'G2@6'BBv2BVRFvW7BBRB2GVffP&r&VGf"2W&WPvƶVBWFFBƖRF֖B'W@&VGfW"V'2vRFF( BpvBFWV7BfW"V'2FW Rv&RVFW"bV@'BbFRrw&ƖRࠠ