FAIRMONT — Carsen Musser is ready for the next chapter of his life — college.
The former Fairmont Area Cardinal goalie and top-notch juniors player recently committed to play between the pipes for NCAA Division I program Colorado College.
Head coach Kris Mayotte just finished his second season at the Colorado Springs-based college and will look to rebuild the Tigers’ program to its glory days on the ice. Colorado College has played in five national championship games, winning two, but the most recent was 66 years ago. They beat Boston University 13-4 in the 1950 title game and defeated Michigan 13-6 in the 1957 title contest.
The Tigers also played in the national championship game in 1952, losing 4-1 to Michigan; in 1955, losing 5-3 to Michigan; and most recently in 1996, and losing 3-2 in overtime to Michigan.
However, the Tigers have experienced some tough times the past decade with their last winning season coming in 2011-12 where they were 18-16-2.
“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but I love this sport and love playing goalie,” Musser said. “All of that time on the ice and in the weight room was worth it.”
Musser, 17, played for Fairmont Area’s team during the 2019-20 season, and has played at the juniors level ever since.
“I played for the high school team when I was a freshman, but then began playing at a higher level my sophomore year,” Musser said.
He played for the Minnesota Sharks 15U AAA squad and Blue Army 14U AAA team early in his competitive career. He was a member of the Victory Honda 15U AAA squad in Michigan in 2020-21, then moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., to play for the U.S. National Team Developmental Program Juniors in the United States Hockey League, competing with the U.S. National U17 and U18 teams that school year.
Now, it’s off to Colorado Springs to play goaltender for the Tigers at the Division I level.
“Carsen has the size, athleticism and technique,” said national development U18 head coach Dan Muse. “He has taken full advantage of his opportunities. He has the dedication to his craft to be a solid goalie.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Musser has a 41-38-4 overall record with six shutouts in juniors.
“I’m a big goalie and I’m able to take up a lot of the net,” Musser said. “I’ve always wanted to put on the goalie equipment since I was a little kid. It’s an awesome feeling and now I get to play goalie at the college level.”
He announced his commitment to Colorado College on Twitter. Another school interested in Musser was Miami, Ohio.
He began playing hockey at age 3 and took up goaltending at 10 — the squirt level.
Musser and his family went on college visits to Colorado College in Colorado Springs and the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio.
“We went to visit both schools, and I just had a gut feeling about Colorado College and they were my choice,” Musser said. “It’s a great school and a great environment.”
He patterns his game after NHL goalie Frederik Andersen of the Carolina Hurricanes. Andersen is also 6-4.
“He is my size, so I pattern a lot of what I do after him,” Musser said.
Andersen helped the Hurricanes sit atop the Metropolitan Division, a few points ahead of New Jersey.
Musser also has had to attend high school class while in Michigan. He carries a 4.0 grade point average at Michigan International Prep School — an online school.
“It’s not easy to spend so much time on the ice and get good grades, but I do the best I can,” Musser said. “We have class time at the rink before we get on the ice, then it’s off to the weight room. It’s a busy schedule, but I make it work.”
Musser plans on studying kinesiology at Colorado College.
His ultimate dream since a child has been to play in the NHL.
“Playing in the NHL is every kid’s dream and I want to be in the NHL,” Musser said. “I would love to win and hoist the Stanley Cup. It’s very hard to do that, but it’s a dream of mine.”
Musser and his current team will travel to Switzerland to play in the U18 ºWorld Tour in April. Team USA plays Latvia, Norway, Finland and Switzerland in the preliminary rounds. Games are played in Basel and Porrentruy.
“I hope to help my team bring home a gold medal to our country,” Musser said. “It will be a great experience.”
Musser’s toughest saves are breakaways and tip shots.
“I have a 50-50 chance to stop a breakaway and tip shots are always tough to stop because you don’t know where the puck is going,” Musser said. “I get a lot of practice stopping those shots because my teammates are pretty talanted with the puck and they make a lot of moves during practices to help me stop those types of shots on a daily basis.”
Musser’s father, Bart, and grandfather, Brad, attended Fairmont High School, too, making it three generations of Mussers.
He is the son of Bart and Sarah Musser of Fairmont.