"Marv, Manny, and Fozzie"

The Bronco Hockey team has a corps of young goalies that have been learning, improving, living together, and making saves along the way. Broncos Illustrated takes a look at Eric Marvin, Mike Mantua, and Scott Foster and what they bring to the Bronco Hockey team.

Most Bronco hockey fans know at least a little about Mike Mantua and Scott Foster who split all of the playing time, but not much is known of freshman walk-on Eric Marvin.

Marvin was recruited by the WMU coaching staff as the number three goalie from the start. He comes to WMU both in part because of the hockey program, but also because of the business school here at WMU. He chose WMU over Miami, Cornell, and Findley.

"I wanted to get back to the school route after taking a year off. This is a great place to play hockey, and I can also get a great education so I kind of get the best of both worlds," said Marvin.

Marvin rooms with fellow freshman Scott Foster in the dorms whom he has a great friendship with. Marvin said of Foster, "We get along great." And of Mantua, "Mike is just a great guy to talk to if you need advise or need someone to talk to."

Marvin is a walk-on on the team and has yet to see any playing time this season. His current goal is to simply break into the line-up and see some action. When asked what he needs to work on to get into the line-up he responded, "I think I just need to work on everything. I just need to wait for my opportunity to get into the line-up and take advantage of it."

Marvin has dressed for all of the home games and the road games that are not part of an overnight trip. The team only travels with 2 goalies (Mantua and Foster) on overnight trips, but for all other games teams are allowed to dress 3 goaltenders and the Broncos take advantage of that by dressing Marvin for games.

One remote possibility in Marvin's future is to chance he may be red shirted this season. Since he has not seen any playing time declaring this a red shirt season is in the realm of possibility, but is something that the coaching staff hadn't planned on. "We haven't even discussed it to tell you the truth. I don't expect that we will [red shirt Marvin]. That may change as he progresses through his tenure here, but right now we don't plan on it," said Jim Culhane. A red shirt season would mean one more year of eligibility after classmate Foster has graduated and moved on in his hockey career.

Most hockey players have nicknames and Marvin keeps his simple going by just ‘Marv.' Foster, however, has a much better known nickname of ‘Fozzie.' The nickname is a hand-me-down from his older cousin who had the same nickname in the junior hockey ranks. The name was then passed down to him as Foster went through the same levels of play years later.

Mantua doesn't really have much of a nickname other than hearing the occasional fan or teammate calling him ‘Manny.' When asked of the nickname coach Jim Culhane simply replied "I usually just call him Mike myself."

Scott Foster comes to WMU from Petrolia of the WJBHL. In his junior career Foster compiled a .906 save percentage that improved to .914 in 12 playoff games. Foster lists (in his official WMU bio) his biggest thrill in sports as "Signing a letter to attend WMU."

Foster chose WMU over Michigan St. and Ferris St. because "I really liked the fan support and the close nit community here," said Foster. He was able to make a couple visits to the WMU campus before committing to WMU and was very impressed with the fans at Lawson.

In terms of playing style Foster and Mantua are about as opposite as you can get. Mantua is the active, emotional type, while Foster is more relaxed and controlled in his play. Mantua will ride on his emotions during a game and play the puck. Foster will play more controlled and not let his emotions show as he is very business like in his play.

If you were to add Marvin to this comparison he would be most like Foster in style of play, but we may have to wait until he reaches his goal of breaking into the lineup before we know for sure. Even though Marvin is a controlled player he is the only goalie on his junior team's history to have ever received a major penalty for fighting.

Sophomore Mike Mantua is the veteran of this group having starting in 16 Bronco games last season sharing time with 2002 team MVP Jeff Reynaert. Mantua got started as a Bronco in an unusual fashion making his first save on a penalty shot. He was also able to record three wins against ranked teams early in his college career.

Growing up Mantua was a regular in the stands for the GLI hockey tournament and attended Red Wings games with his season ticket holding parents. He moved around a lot in high school attending 6 different schools through his high school career.

Being in great athletic shape is something Mantua is good at. He competed in a marathon as a 15-year-old and spent this past summer in workouts with the Bronco football team doing 600-yard test runs.

Of all things goalies are known for Mantua is known for something goalies almost never do, and that is score goals. As a Bronco Mantua scored his first college goal against Ferris St. on an empty net, a feat only done a handful of times in the history of college hockey. This wasn't his first goal as a goalie however. As a member of the Des Moines Buccaneers team he also scored a goal.

The highlight of his junior career may have been his goal, but another noteworthy highlight was stopping all 12 shots he faced in the USHL Prospects/All-Star game that he earned the win in.

One of the reasons for the success and improvement of these goalies has been volunteer coach Allan Avery. The newest member of the coaching staff this Michigan State Trooper spends the bulk of his time helping the goaltenders.

"Al helps us with the little things each day, making sure that we refine our games and we're trying to get rid of the little mistakes. I think if you look at the way we've improved over the season, all three of us, he's really been able to help us quite a bit," said Foster. "He stays out with us extra after practice and works with us, so Al helps us a lot."

The year of experience that Mantua has in the CCHA has been of help to the younger Foster as well. "He talks about what to expect on the road and from certain teams. It helps you know your opponent, helps you prepare for the weekend, so it's been real good," said Foster about Mantua.

Jim Culhane added about the help Mantua gives to Foster, "In games that Mike isn't starting and Scott would be starting, they're talking about the other team's building, and how it's lit, and maybe bounces along the boards and stuff like that. They room together on the road. So it's been a real good relationship, one that's going to continue to build."

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories