March 2, 2005
This week's featured athlete is men's ice hockey junior defenseman Peter Harrold, who has notched three goals and nine assists this season. After clinching home ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, Boston College closes out the regular season this weekend with two home contests against Maine.
Q: After dropping two games to UMass-Lowell a couple of weeks ago, the team rebounded with three points - a win and a tie - against New Hampshire last weekend. What was the team's mindset after the tough series against Lowell and what was the key to the success against UNH?
A: Well, obviously, it's tough losing two games in one weekend. That's the first time we've been swept all year. That's the only season series we lost. We did not work [against] Lowell. They just beat us up and down the ice. We had to beat UNH to the net, get the pucks on the net, and have guys go to the net to get goals. We did it all weekend, and we just outplayed them.
Q: Without getting too specific, talk about what you believe are the team's greatest strengths? And what areas is the team looking to "firm up" entering this final weekend of the regular season?
A: Our team defense is one of our strengths. Obviously, it's nice to have Matti [Kaltiainen] in net. He played unbelievable against New Hampshire at UNH. Our forwards are a huge key. They play very well in our defensive zone. Our team defense is going to be a key because when you go down the stretch they are all going to be one or two-goal games. We can always work on offense, because offense can go away sometimes, but it's nice to get it back when you have it. That's really what we have to work on, just keeping a good offensive set.
Q: Your team has locked up home ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. You enter this weekend against Maine with a chance to secure your position in the standings or even to win the league regular-season title. What are you thoughts heading into this important series?
A: Obviously, we want to win both [games]. It would be really nice to get the number-one seed, because obviously you will play the eighth seed. You always want to win two games against Maine because those will have national repercussions. They are a ranked team, and they are a very good team. So, to get two big wins going down the stretch drive would be enormous for us.
Q: Talk about your progression as a defenseman from the time you arrived at BC until now. It seems you've expanded your game.
A: Well, coming into BC, I didn't really know a whole lot about defense. I knew the fundamentals, but Ron Rolston was an excellent defensive coach. He taught you all the little things, and all the little things that will get you to the next level to help you play well. Greg Brown also has that because he has played pro hockey. He knows the little things that you have to do. That's really what they have been doing. Greg Brown has been unbelievable with offense because he was an offensive defenseman. He has been working with us with stick skills, shooting, passing and skating. Greg Brown has been unbelievable this year. Those two coaches have been a great help to me.
Q: You've now spent three years with this team's 10 seniors. Talk about the Class of 2005 - their leadership and their on-ice attributes.
A: Well, obviously, they are probably one of the most talented classes to come through. From top to bottom, they are extremely solid. The leadership they have provided has been unbelievable. Ryan Shannon is an excellent captain, but it's not just him. The seniors, right down from Ned Havern to John Adams to Andrew Alberts, they all know what needs to be done to win. They are doing an excellent job of passing on that knowledge to us.
Q: As you enter March, your season has gone from a marathon to more of a sprint. What's the most difficult part about keeping your focus this deep into the season?
A: This is the easiest time to keep focus because the goal is at hand. It is a sprint, so it's do or die at this point in the season. This is really the most exciting time for us.
Q: You have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of your first two seasons here at BC - advancing to the quarterfinal round as a freshman and to the semifinal round last year. What have you taken from those experiences and what will it take to take another step forward this year?
A: Those are hard games to win. Obviously, it was 1-0 my freshman year against Ohio State and then we lost to Cornell in double overtime. That's a tough loss. Last year it was not easy. We beat Michigan in overtime to get to the Frozen Four. You have to realize that these games are going to be wars. It's going to be the team that wants it more that's going to win. Usually the team that outworks the other is the team that's going to win. You have to be ready to go to battle every night.
Q: Last spring you received Boston College's Sophomore Male Scholar-Athlete Award at the All-Sports Banquet. You were also named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team. How do you balance the academic demands placed upon you with your challenging athletic schedule?
A: I think it's about time management. Hockey obviously takes up a lot of our time. There is enough time to get your school work done. You have a little less free time to goof off. But, it helps having that structure. I think that with a lot of kids, when they don't have that structure, they just waste a lot of time. I know from experience because in the spring when we have time off, you realize that you have a lot of free time and you end up wasting a lot of it. It's almost a help to be able to have that structure. It helps with your time management and helps to get your work done.
Q: You excelled as a center fielder at the Hawken School, earning All-League honors three times. Have you ever picked up a bat since coming to college? What hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
A: I haven't swung a bat too many times since coming to college. I'm a big golfer, and I like to golf a lot. I do a lot of that in the summer time with my brother and father. So, that's really my summer thing. We have to work out, but golf is like my relaxation.
Q: You presented the United States in the 2000 Four Nations Tournament in Kezmarok, Slovakia. Talk about your experience representing your country. And what struck you most about the Slovak experience?
A: Playing for your country is obviously an honor. There is nothing cooler than getting a jersey that has "USA" on it. That's unbelievable in and of itself. But, it's interesting to see other cultures. That was the first time I had ever been off this continent. You realized what we have here is pretty nice and you kind of take it for granted sometimes. I also made a lot of friends. There were five kids from our team that played on that team. I played with Patrick Eaves, Stephen Gionta, Ryan Shannon and Dave Spina. I made some friendships there that we've been able to carry on. But, you share a bond with all the guys you play with. That's what you take away from it.