After a disappointing 2001-02 season with Schwenningen and Mannheim, failing to crack Germany’s Olympic team, and breaking his wrist late in the season, the 2002-03 season was a resurgence for the 19-year old German Marcel Goc.
Goc started the season playing for the Mannheim Eagles in the Cologne Arena Cup, which involved Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Mannheim of the DEL, and SC Bern of the Swiss Nationalliga A. Mannheim finished second behind DEG while Goc finished with a shorthanded goal and two assists in the three exhibition games to kick of the Eagles’ season.
Goc played in Mannheim’s first two DEL games, managing two assists, but missed the Eagles’ next four games while in San Jose for the Sharks’ training camp, where Goc appeared in three exhibition games tallying an assist and two penalty minutes before returning to Mannheim. Upon his return to the DEL, the six-foot 187-pound Goc scored three goals and five assists in 12 DEL games before suffering a muscle tear in his thigh against Hannover on Nov. 1. Due to appear in the Deutschland Cup representing his country in the four-nation tournament, Goc missed three DEL games and the Deutschland Cup before returning to action for Mannheim Nov. 22, skating with Tomas Martinec and Yannic Seidenberg.
After three games to get his legs back under him, Goc had two goals and three assists in his five December matches with the Eagles before leaving with the German U-20 team to play in the World Junior Championships in Nova Scotia. Missing seven DEL games, Goc had a goal and two assists in six games for Team Germany, second on the team in scoring behind Christoph Ullmann’s four goals. Goc’s 53.5 percent face-off efficiency was second on the German team behind Alexander Barta’s 54.1 percent. Germany finished ninth in the ten-team tournament, ahead of Belarus, but not good enough to avoid relegation to the IIHF First Division World Junior Championships next year.
The remainder of Goc’s DEL regular-season was not as impressive, as he managed only one goal and four assists in 14 games, missing two games as well. (Feb. 28, Mar. 2.) Despite a sub-par stretch drive, Goc did play in the DEL All-Star Game, and also represented Germany in the Swiss Cup, where Goc failed to tally in three games, although Germany finished second behind Slovakia. Goc finished the regular season with six goals and 14 assists in 36 games, eighth in points-per-game on Mannheim at .55 and second in face-off efficiency at 56.5 percent, behind Wayne Hynes, and seventh in the DEL among all players with more than 200 faceoffs.
In the first round of the DEL Playoffs Goc tallied a goal and two assists in Mannheim’s 4-1 series win over the Nürnberg Ice Tigers. The second round of the play-offs, a best-of-five series, was not so fortunate for Mannheim, as the Cologne Sharks swept the Eagles 3-0. Despite scoring no points in the second round, Goc’ three points in eight games tied him for ninth in team scoring. The able drawman also had a 52 percent face-off efficiency in the playoffs.
Goc’s world-wide season game to a close in the World Championships in Finland, where Goc led all forwards in ice-time over seven games with an average of 17:17. In Germany’s first game against Japan, Goc had an assist in a 5-4 win against the determined team. Germany came into its own in a 3-1 win over the respectable Ukraine, where Goc managed a short-handed goal and an assist. Despite not scoring in the remaining five games, Goc led all German forwards in ice-time at 20:52 in the team’s 2-2 tie against the host-nation Finland. As usual, Goc’s faceoff abilities stuck out, leading Germany in faceoff efficiency at 60 percent, good for 13th in the tournament. Shark defenseman Jim Fahey, in Finland playing for Team USA, had this to say of Goc in a “diary entry” at sjsharks.com: “Goc seems to be really smart and knows the game—he could be ready to step in next year.”
Although Goc did not put up major numbers this year at any level, he always displayed his strong hockey sense, not unlike German Shark Marco Sturm before him. Goc does not have Sturm’s offensive upside, but Goc does have the same awareness, matched by good skating abilities. Not quite as fast as the ultra-speedy Sturm, Goc should develop into an able third line center. Should Goc, as Fahey suspects, make the Sharks next season, it may be as a left wing, which is what Goc played along side Martin Reichel and Tomas Martinec at the WC’s for much of the tournament. Despite lacking Wayne Primeau’s size, or Mark Smith’s spunk, Goc could still steal the fourth line center spot as well. If that fails, Goc should find himself as the second line center in Cleveland, ahead of Kris Newbury and Craig Valette. San Jose’s first round pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft may never put up major offensive numbers in the NHL, but he is lock to play in the NHL for many years holding down third-line duty and killing penalties.
|Marcel Goc 2002-03|