It could be argued that goalie is the most difficult position to play, not just in hockey, but in all of professional sports. Somehow SCSU’s Charlie Lindgren has been making it look easy. With four shutouts in the first month of the season, Lindgren, a junior from Lakeville, Minnesota, is at the top of his game and was named the NCHC Player of the Month for October.
“In the short time that I’ve been here, I think I’ve seen him at his very best,” said provisional assistant coach Kurt Kleinendorst. “He’s earned those shutouts and has made the big and timely saves when the team needed them. Having a reliable goaltender gives the team a lot of confidence that filters its way through the whole group.”
Charlie–or “Chuck” as most of his teammates know him–has seemed to prove that reliability. In October, Lindgren posted a .947 save percentage and a 1.43 goals-against average, leading the NCHC and is among the top of the NCAA Division I netminders. He has also been awarded NCHC’s Goaltender of the Week twice already this season.
”We’ve been doing well, there’s no doubt about that. Obviously our schedule isn’t going to get any easier and we’ve got to keep it going, but a 6-2 start is pretty good for who we’ve played so far,” Lindgren said. “The culture is a big thing here and it’s been so strong. Everyone is buying into the process and the system, and it’s showing in how we play.”
Men’s hockey team has had great success in the early part of the season, tied for 10th with Boston University in the NCAA’s college hockey rankings, and the team remains undefeated at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
“I’ve never played in front of a goalie like him,” said freshman forward Robby Jackson. “It’s nice to know Chuck is there and that he’ll have your back on the ice. We all appreciate what he does.” Jackson continued, “[Charlie is] just a great guy to have overall, on the ice and in the locker room. He’s really supported us freshmen and has become a great friend to me.”
Lindgren reflected on his freshman year, saying it was tough at times taking a backseat to starting goaltender Ryan Faragher. “I definitely matured a lot,” said Lindgren. “Playing games is what you live for, but being able to watch my freshman year might have been a good thing. I was able to see just what college hockey was all about and grow my game from that.”
Where It All Started
Growing up in a hockey family, based in Minnesota, Charlie Lindgren credits his father, Bob, for getting him started in hockey. As a goaltender himself who played college hockey, Bob Lindgren’s love for the game rubbed off on his son.
“He’s a guy I’ve always looked up to. My dad is who really got me into the game of hockey and got me interested in becoming a goalie,” said Lindgren. “When I first started out playing hockey, [my dad] said he wasn’t going let me be a goalie until I learned how to skate, so I tried goalie when I was about 10 years old and I really liked it.”
“I think it’s good that I didn’t jump into goaltending because you really do have to be a good skater first,” explained Lindgren. “My dad though, he’s my role model. He was goalie and was my first goalie coach; that was nice because he was always with me and teaching me the ropes early on.”
Lindgren’s two younger brothers are also hockey players, both currently playing for junior teams.
Before beginning at St. Cloud State, Lindgren played two seasons with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League. With the Stampede he charted 40 wins during 2012-2013 season, posted a 2.80 GAA and .900 save percentage. He was also named USA Hockey Junior Goalie of the Year in 2012-2013.
“Playing in the USHL was a really great experience for me, and to be able to succeed in junior hockey was a very big thing. It was tough, but I was able to grow my game a lot between two different coaches, Kevin Hartzell and Cary Eades,” Lindgren said.
“I attribute a lot of my success to my coaches. My parents being my biggest supporters, and my goalie coach [Dave Rogalski]. I owe a lot of thanks to them.”
Continuing Success with SCSU
“After last season I took probably three weeks off just to get away from the game a little bit. My goalie coach here is my goalie coach during the summer as well, he sees me 12 months out of the year, so he kind of knows my strengths and weaknesses, which is really good,” Lindgren explained of his training schedule and prep for his junior season with SCSU. “I don’t think there’s really anything that’s different [from last season]. I definitely worked really hard, I wanted to have a really great season this year and build off of what I did last year. I think part of the success I’ve had so far is obviously the way the team is playing in front of me, and also the experience of growing as a player. Knowing a little bit more of what to expect this year [as a starting goaltender] was really helpful,” said Lindgren.
Charlie also had an exciting opportunity this passed summer when he was invited to the Minnesota Wild training camp, saying it was a great experience and that he was able to get some good feedback from it. “In a way, it just makes you remember how badly you want to get [to the NHL],” stated Lindgren.
Majoring in marketing at SCSU, Lindgren hopes to further advance into the hockey world. Charlie talks of his future plans saying, “After college I want to play professional hockey and see where that takes me. Obviously, I hope to reach the top, my goal being to play in the NHL. I just love the game so much, I’ll for sure be staying involved in the game of hockey.”
For the time being, Lindgren is certainly enjoying great success with the Huskies, with fans as well as teammates enjoying his presence.
“He’s really a great guy who everybody loves,” said senior Kalle Kossila of Lindgren. “He always does his part, on and off the ice. When the time comes during games he can be serious and get everybody going, but can crack jokes during practice and get everybody smiling,” said Kossila. “Chuck is just a team guy who puts everything in and he’s the best teammate you can have.”
Coach Kleinendorst spoke of Lindgren saying, “He’s a really mature player; I think he’s probably one of the players that leads more by example by the way he shows up in practice, his effort in the weight room, and his approach to game nights. For us to have a good year, for any team to have a good year, it pretty much starts between the pipes.”
Maddie MacFarlane is a senior at St. Cloud State. She is majoring in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Photojournalism and a minor in Graphic Design. In addition to the University Chronicle, MacFarlane works for the SCSU Athletics department as a photographer and is the Creative Services intern at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.