MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University hockey coach Walt Kyle is not ready to declare senior Reid Ellingson as the Wildcats' No. 1 goaltender just yet.
However, the former Cloquet High School and Green Bay Gamblers standout has taken a step in that direction as Kyle and the 'Cats turn to the hot glove in net each night.
Ellingson will get his traditional Friday night start this week when the No. 17-ranked Wildcats host No. 6 Notre Dame at 7:35 p.m. at the Berry Events Center in CCHA play.
If Ellingson performs well, it will open the door for a second consecutive start for the senior at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday during NMU's Pink Experience against the Irish.
"What we hoped to get to is playing whoever is the hottest guy," Kyle said. "Right now, Reid has been going Friday nights and Reid is going Friday again and we're not committed to splitting guys. If Reid plays well, Reid will potentially play again."
Last season, Ellingson and Coreau shared time in goal as Kyle rode the success of the hot glove. Eventually Ellingson became the starter down the stretch and in the postseason due to his consistency.
NMU goalie comparison
Name GP-GS GAA Sv Pct W-L-T
Reid Ellingson 5-4 2.24 .922 3-2-0
Jared Coreau 4-4 3.10 .866 1-1-1
Ellingson has started in all four Friday night contests this season, going 3-1, while sophomore Jared Coreau started all Saturday games.
Coreau, who was 1-1-1 going into Game 2 at Western Michigan, was pulled from the goal 10:08 into his start on Saturday after giving up two goals on five shots.
Ellingson came in and made 23 saves before the Broncos' Ian Slater beat the NMU senior 28 seconds into overtime to give Western the win, 3-2, and series sweep in Kalamazoo.
"It was 50 percent Jared's play, 50 percent we needed a change of momentum which we were successful doing," Kyle said as his team was able to rally and tie the game at 2-2 after two periods. "I haven't determined what we will do this weekend, but Reid will be going Friday for sure."
Ellingson said he can't explain the mental effect switching goalies has on defensemen and forwards when it's done in a game, other than it feels like the reset button has been pushed.
"You just want to go in and limit the damage," Ellingson said. "You want to go in and change the momentum. A lot of the times, the goalie doesn't even have to do it."
Ellingson said he prepares every night as if he is going to start physically, but mentally he admits he's not completely ready on nights he knows he isn't the starter.
"You prepare, but obviously not as much," Ellingson said. "You're ready, but once you get in you just have to flick it on rather than solely prepare as if you knew you were starting."