WESTFIELD, NJ — Ethan Finver was only 7 years old when he approached Westfield assistant hockey coach George Giresi to say that one day he would be his starting goalie. Giresi laughed, the Westfield High School junior remembered. But now, almost 10 years later, Finver is right where he envisioned he’d be.
Sharing the starting position with senior Christian Mancheno, Finver had his first two varsity starts last week and impressed. In a tough 2-0 loss to Summit, he recorded 32 saves and added 13 in a 4-1 win against Cranford.
“I've been playing hockey since I was 4 years old. It's part of me and everything I do,” Finver said. “Finally being the starting goalie means a lot.”
Finver is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.
“I feel like I have played pretty strong this season but I cannot take even a little bit of the credit,” Finver said. “It all started with a strong offseason program put together by my coaches. I feel like the conditioning programs they had me doing plays a strong part in my performance so far.”
He added, “I really don't think that I would have the success I have had this far if it weren't for the guys in front of me. My defense has been unreal so far playing in front of me and if it weren't for them we wouldn't be successful as a unit.”
Westfield head coach Joe Bertucci said Finver continues to grow after backing up star goalie Dan DoCampo last year.
“Ethan's first two starts as a varsity goalie have been impressive,” Bertucci said. “He has been fundamentally sound, controlling rebounds and making big saves when needed. He comes to the rink focused and prepared.”
As Finver and Mancheno split time as goalie, it brings out the best in them.
“Sharing the starting position has been pretty fun so far,” Finver said. “Since we don't know game by game who is playing, it makes practice even more fun because of the friendly competition me and Christian have been engaged in for the last few months. It pushes both of us to work that much harder than the other guy to earn our playing time.”
Bertucci called having two goalies capable of carrying the load a “good problem.”
“Coming into this season, they were aware that the starter would be determined on a day-to-day basis,” Bertucci said. “They have a good relationship and recognize that they are on this team together for the same reason. The healthy competition is good for the both of them.”
Finver brings more to the team then just his talent.
“Ethan is a vocal leader in the locker room,” Bertucci said. “He is focused and determined to bring his best each day. He has done a nice job setting a good example for our players.”
As a goalie, Finver said he feels like a quarterback.
“In the defensive zone, I run the play. I control the tempo of the game,” he explained. “Being an upperclassman on the team, with so many young guys, I feel that I need to step up and mentor the guys that will be coming up through the next couple of years and leading this program to championships.”
Eric Storms is a junior at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Westfield.
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located on the South Avenue Circle in Westfield, the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them this week at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.