Putting In the Work
By Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor
Photos by Syracuse University
They always say you need to be a little crazy to become a goaltender. After all, why would a sane person want to sit in a net and face a 100 mile per hour slap shot 30 to 40 times a game. They must have something wrong with them.
But, all kidding aside, being a goaltender is not an easy job. You are the last line of defense, and the reason why your team wins or loses on a nightly basis. Being a goaltender is not an easy job and is something that only a few can do really well.
Syracuse University senior goaltender Maddie Welch has certainly waited for her time. During her first three seasons for the Cuse, Welch appeared in just a handful of games. That all changed this year when Welched was named the starting goaltender for Orange.
Even with her time on bench, Welch has loved every experience at Syracuse.
“I have loved my time at Syracuse,” stated Welch. “I was fortunate enough to play here and I still have one more year. It was a great opportunity and great time here. It was super tough in the beginning (not playing), but when I got on the ice it was important for me to get the reps in.”
While she hasn’t seen the ice much during her first three years, Welch is no stranger to success. During her time at Nichols School in Buffalo, Welch amassed an 88-10-6 record for the Vikings. On top of that, she had a combined win total of 127-45-15 for the Niagara Purple Eagles and Buffalo Bisons.
Winning is in her blood, so is working hard.
The young lady from East Amherst could have easily thrown in the towel during any year riding the pine. But, she knew at some point she would get her chance to shine for the Orange. This offseason Welch worked harder than ever to prepare herself for the grueling college hockey schedule.
She wanted to come in as prepared as possible to compete and take over the starting job on a full time basis.
“I have been working really hard on and off the ice during the summer,” stated Welch recently by phone. “I made sure I got on the ice and took some shots, and also made sure I got in the weight room. It’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Her opportunity started at Nichols where she was a standout on and off the ice. She was one of the main reasons why Nichols had such an amazing run during her time there. Her play in net was nothing but spectaular.
It was off the ice where she made her mark as well. Welch was the prototypical definition of student-athlete. Grades came first then sports. She made sure she did the work in the classroom, which then led to success on the ice.
Nichols, knows for its rigorous academics, has set up Welch to be successful when she is all done with her career on the ice.
“I love Nichols. Nichols honestly has set me up for the future,” stated Welch. “I can only say good things about it (Nichols). School wise it prepared me for where I am right now. I honestly could not say anything but good stuff about Nichols.”
As her season winds down it might not be the end of the road for Welch and her career. With a professional league up and running, young women now have the chance to continue their dreams of playing hockey at the next level.
Before it was high school, college and than the real world. Now, more and more young women are able to continue their careers. For Welch she hasn’t shut the door on playing hockey at the next level just yet.
“It’s really hard (to think about) but it must be something that I still continue. I haven’t completely shut the door on that yet,” stated Welch. “I think that I just need to work hard (to make it to the next level). That’s something that coach emphasizes all the time is hard work. Do the extra stuff when no one is looking or watching.”