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Q&A: Ryan Crowshaw

By Anthony Di Paolo - HNIB Beat Writer, 02/14/24, 3:00PM EST


Apple Core Goaltender Ryan Crowshaw Chats with Beat Writer Anthony Di Paolo

Brewster, NY -- One of the biggest storylines in the 2023-2024 Eastern Hockey League season is the turnaround year for New York Apple Core.

The team—led by second-year head coach Lenny Caglianone—is having its best season in over 20 years. As of this writing, Apple Core has a record of 30-8-1, good for first place in the Central Division, and is riding an 18-game winning streak.

Much of that success goes back to a trade in early December, where Connecticut Chiefs goaltender Ryan Crowshaw was dealt to Brewster. Since then, Crowshaw has posted a 13-0-0 record, a 1.93 goals against average, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts. Apple Core was having a decent season beforehand, but Crowshaw, who also represented the league in this year’s college showcase series, turned the team into contenders overnight.

We caught up with Crowshaw as he talked about his first year in the EHL, playing against NCAA teams, and playing with his new team in Brewster, NY.

Anthony DiPaolo: You played at the Gunnery (currently known as the Frederick Gunn School) before coming up to the EHL. What was the transition like going into the EHL and playing at the junior level? 

Ryan Crowshaw: I think the big transition for me from the prep school league to the EHL was really just, I'd probably have to say, physicality. Guys really wanted to throw their body around more. I think with a much longer season in the EHL, it became a thing where you had to focus on your details and the process of doing things right. 

It was also a matter of focusing on trying to get that much better each and every day, as opposed to, you know, at Gunnery, where it was just such a short season, and every day felt like a game day.

AD: Your EHL debut was honestly incredible. Going up against New York Apple Core, you made 69 saves on 70 shots. Can you take me back to that game and how you managed to make all those saves?

RC: Before every game, I had to build up some self-confidence. I don't really do a ton of self-talk, but just as soon as the first puck dropped, I kept reminding myself, ‘your job is to be the best player on the ice.’ And I think that game was kind of a wakeup call. You're focusing on just making the next save, then the next save. That game was honestly, as a goalie, just so much fun. It was the perfect game to be a part of, really. 

AD: Apparently there was a discrepancy in the shot count? 

RC: Yeah, funny story about that one was the original shot count that they gave me was I think somewhere in the 50s. I didn't really care, I thought it was a great game regardless. And I wasn’t really looking too much into that because all of those numbers were the same to me. 

But my advisor called me, and asked me how my game went. I told him it was good and we won 2-1. Then he said while the original number they had down on the stat sheet was 50, the number on InStat had me at 70. And I was like, ‘Oh, so which one is it?’ He was telling me InStat has it accurate more than more often than not. 

AD: You continued to play well for the Chiefs and you were selected for the EHL college showcase series, going up against SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Brockport. What did you make of that experience? 

RC: If that wasn’t the highlight of my season so far, it was definitely close. They treated us top-notch, from the league to the schools that hosted us, and the games showed us that we can not only play at this level, but we can excel at this level. The whole thing was really fun, but I didn’t like getting the penalty against SUNY Fredonia, especially not in overtime, but I still had a good time playing.

AD: Of course, the big trade happened soon after and you were sent to New York Apple Core. How did you initially feel when you learned about the trade, and was it like acclimating to a new team like Apple Core?

RC: There were so many different emotions going into that. I was really excited at the prospect of playing with a long-time friend and teammate in Peter Unger. Also having played them four times already, we knew who they were and I knew the team had the potential to go places. 

But I also had great experiences with the Chiefs, and I cannot talk enough about how great the people, the coaches and the players were to me. The assistant coach Michael Esposito, I don’t think I’ll ever have another relationship with a coach like I did with him. He was unreal to me, obviously Greg Heffernan was tremendous to me as well. For a while, a part of me still felt like I was a part of the Chiefs. I was playing games for Apple Core, but a part of me still wanted to talk to all my friends from the Chiefs, they were that special of a group. 

But I think (head coach) Lenny Caglianone, coach (Nick) Minerva and the goalie coach there, Matt Grogan, have all treated me amazingly. I remember getting the call from Lenny, it was a Monday, he called me and let me know that I was playing the day after against the New Jersey 87’s. We worked through a bunch of stuff and they really made the transition so smooth, and the players too were so welcoming and helping me figure stuff out. I can’t say enough about both programs, they have treated me like royalty.

AD: Can you talk more about Peter Unger, and what it means to reunite with him?

RC: It’s so fun. Being a goalie who plays the puck a lot, if he’s on the ice I know I want to get the puck to him, because you know he’s going to make something happen. Since I’ve gotten there, he’s just gone off the charts.

AD: Apple Core is in the midst of a turnaround season, and you helped the team go on this massive winning streak (16 games as of this interview). How would you try to describe this change of pace in New York?

RC: I remember my last game with the Chiefs snapped an eight-game losing streak. It was tough, and it was frustrating to lose eight games in a row. But as soon as I got to New York, I felt ‘we could really do this.’ We have all the pieces and that confidence just kept on growing and growing, and I think the results now speak for itself. 

AD: That first game for Apple Core was a shutout against the 87’s, can’t think of a better first impression than that.

RC: Oh absolutely. Honestly, I think the best part about it for me might be the assist as well, because that was a nice breakout pass. After the goal, the assistant coach just shouted something to get me all pumped up, and I made a name for myself.

AD: You’ve been the starter for both teams and you’re third among all EHL goalies in minutes played, how are you handling the workload?

RC: I try not to think about it like that, Apple Core’s goalie room is, I think, the best goalie room in the league. Jake Anderson is unreal, and Raffaele Lestingi, while he splits time with us and the Westchester Express, he’s a great goalie as well. For me it’s just about earning your next start, being the best ‘me’ I could be every day and just taking it one day at a time. 

AD: With the streak, Apple Core passed the Railers Jr. Hockey Club in the standings and the teams are neck-and-neck. What are the team’s expectations heading into the postseason?

RC: We have that self-belief; we’ve climbed our way to the top. Before this win streak, we were about 10 points behind the Railers, and now we’re right with them. Anything short of a championship at this point would be disappointing; we think we are the best right now, nobody is better than us, if people want to doubt us that’s fine, but we’ll just prove them wrong.

I think that’s something we’ve done this whole season too. They didn’t have a winning season last year, and I think now we’re showing everyone what we’re capable of.

EHL Ryan Crowshaw

Anthony Di Paolo

Anthony Di Paolo covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @DiPaolo_016

Anthony Di Paolo has been working in various levels of hockey over the last five years, ranging from juniors to the pros. Di Paolo spent four seasons as the Communications Director and play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (2016-2020), and is entering his fifth season in a similar role with the New Jersey 87’s of the Eastern Hockey League. Graduating from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, the New Jersey native covered Division I athletics for his school’s radio station, WSOU, and spent two years writing for the Fischler Report, a newsletter run by U.S. Hockey Hall-of-Fame inductee Stan Fischler. In addition to writing features and player spotlights throughout the season, Anthony is a fixture on the weekly #EShow podcast.