January 21, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Making Friends the Fast Way

Providence Goalie Beaudry Arrives Mid-Season to Lift Friars

by Joseph Edwards/CHN Writer

Alex Beaudry has lifted the Friars since coming to Providence in mid-season.

Alex Beaudry has lifted the Friars since coming to Providence in mid-season.

From the instant Alex Beaudry set foot on the Providence campus in January, it's been a series of quick flashes: his first practice (Jan. 10), his first game (the following night vs. Lowell, a win), his first award (Hockey East Rookie of the Week), and his first headlines.

Finally, though, things are slowing down for the freshman netminder.

"Classes just started," he laughs. "So that's a nice change of pace from the practices and games."

Getting to this point, however, has taken Beaudry a bit longer. The Cumberland, Ontario, native spent three years in the Central Junior Hockey League with Nepean, Kemptville and Gloucester, compiling a 29-55-9 record with five shutouts, a performance that gave him several suitors when it came to choose a college.

"I'd given myself the objective of getting a Division I scholarship for the past two years," he says.

He fulfilled that intention when Providence coach Tim Army went in search of a new goalie. With junior Ryan Simpson battling injuries and the tandem of Chris Mannix and Justin Gates combining on a 3-12-1 record, Army made the decision to bring in Beaudry for the second half of the season to try and get back the team back on track.

"We thought he was good," Army says. "Alex was a guy that we liked as a goalie. He was the guy we wanted."

There was a sea of paperwork, admissions, NCAA compliance, insurance, immigration, amongst them, but they were all settled in time for Beaudry to get to campus and join the team. He moved into a dorm room he shares with two freshman teammates, and spent time getting to know the team.

"It took me about a week to learn everyone's names," he laughs. "They're a great group of guys. They all came over and asked me where I was from. Being around them has helped a lot, it's a very comfortable situation. It's been a blast."

After his first practice on the 10th, Army asked Beaudry to tend to the nets for the Friars the following night. Mired in a team-wide offensive slump and in the Hockey East basement at 0-8-1, Beaudry's new teammates needed only what Army estimates was 35 seconds into their first game of the New Year to start having fun, too.

"He made two quick stops — one down low in the Lowell zone, and then again on a breakaway," he recalls. "You could almost feel it, you know. It infused confidence and trust into the lineup. We played more relaxed, our poise is better. [The team] trusts themselves and one another more. The importance of a goalie goes far beyond making saves."

All in all, Beaudry stopped 19 shots, and his play inspired the team. They exploded for a four-goal output, only the fifth time they'd reached that mark on the season. The combination was enough for a win at Lowell, their first league win of the season. It was a noteworthy performance for the goalie, who garnered Rookie of the Week honors — noteworthy, that is, to everyone except Beaudry himself.

"I had no idea I'd won until my parents called and told," he laughs. "It was pretty funny. It's always fun hearing your name called — it's a reward."

From that point on, Providence has continued to reap the rewards from Beaudry's play. Two nights after the Lowell game, he spurred them to a 4-2 win at BU, stopping 39 shots, and the following weekend, he turned any leftover heads in his direction when he pulled out 42 saves in a 5-4 win at Massachusetts. A 2-2 tie against Maine has left both Beaudry and the Friars at 3-0-1 in the New Year.

"It's been a huge boost for me, but it was an even bigger boost for my teammates," he says. "I had no expectations — I just played my game and the defense played very soundly and we capitalized on our opportunities."

Despite the early success, Beaudry admits he's still getting used to the college game.

"Everyone can skate," he notes. "They keep telling me that players are stronger, but I don't notice since I'm a goalie. I don't play the puck as much because there's so much room behind the net — sometimes it's better to let the 'D' take it."

While he continues to adjust, Providence is preparing for the Hockey East homestretch, where it currently sits four points outside of a playoff spot thanks to Beaudry's mid-season heroics.

"The playoffs are a main objective," Beaudry says. "We're taking it one game at a time — we can't get overconfident. Whoever you play — BC, BU, Merrimack — two points is two points."

His record has already earned the Friars seven league points, and with plenty of room for more, it seems he's turned them in the right direction as well.

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