Hockey's Chris Collins Discusses Upcoming NCAA Tournament
March 23, 2005
This week's featured athlete is ice hockey forward Chris Collins. This season, Collins has played in all 38 games. He has posted the second-most shots on goal (132). Last Saturday, the junior from Fairport, N.Y., registered a goal in Boston College's 3-1 title-clinching victory over New Hampshire in the Hockey East Tournament championship game.
Q: Looking back at the Hockey East Tournament, your team faced multiple injuries and was able to pull together. What was the team dynamic last weekend?
A: I think any time a team loses players such as Patrick Eaves, Stephen Gionta and Peter Harrold, everyone has to step up. Pat always seems to have at least a point or two per game. So, without him, it makes everyone at least step his game up a little bit.
Q: Over both Hockey East Tournament games, you registered 12 shots on goal - eight against Maine and four versus New Hampshire. Talk about your performance and how you helped generate the team's offense.
A: My main goal has been to get shots on net. I haven't scored as many goals this year as I have wanted to. But, I think down the stretch here I've been trying to stay positive. Every shift out there I've tried to get at least one or two shots on net. One of those is bound to go in. Finally, one of those did against UNH where it just dropped in. Every shift that I've gone out there, I've tried to work hard and get the puck in the net.
Q: What do you enjoy most about playing with your linemates?
A: Well, with Ryan Shannon and Dave Spina, we've been together since my freshman year. Ryan and I played together at prep school (Taft). So there's been a lot of good chemistry for the last three years. We didn't play together much this year, but once we got back together, it didn't take long for it to kick back in.
Q: What do you try to bring to the ice each game?
A: I just try to work as hard as I can and bring a lot of energy to the game. Some nights, you might not be feeling the hands so you go out and hit a guy. I basically go out there and try to go as hard as I can on every shift. Sometimes I might just try to keep the puck on their side to wear out their defenders for a good 40 seconds.
Q: Last Saturday, you scored the "insurance" goal against New Hampshire, giving the Eagles a 3-1 advantage. What did this goal mean to you and how did you feel after scoring it?
A: The word to describe it was relief. I mean, when I saw the puck go in, it was one of the best feelings of the year. UNH is such a dangerous team. We have been up on them a few times this year, and they have always seemed to find a way to just tie it up. There were just more than two minutes left in the game when I scored that goal. Sean Collins and [Preston] Callander and those guys were pressing, and I felt like one might just drop. So, when that puck went in it was just a complete relief.
Q: Your team enters the regionals of the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Worcester with a first-round game against Mercyhurst on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Talk about the team's attitude and preparation heading into this weekend.
A: The key is to just play our own game. From here on out, we are pretty much not going to know a whole lot about any team we are playing unless we play BU. We just have to play our game. We've done a great job with conditioning so we really haven't gotten tired.
Q: Boston College returns to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season. Having been here before, how important is it to have experience in these playoff situations?
A: There's tons of experience on the team. In every game, you are going to get tested in different ways. You're going to be down two goals in the first period, you are going to be up two, or they are going to tie it on you. The biggest thing is to just keep thinking positive. A lot of times in a game, where they might score a lucky goal or something, you can get down, especially in the playoffs because you've got a big crowd there. We've got to just keep going. We are going to get a bounce, and then they are going to get a bounce. It's all going to boil down to defense. We just have to play our own game and not make mistakes. Those are the biggest things.
Q: Going up against Mercyhurst in the first round, what do you know about their team and their players?
A: I'm not too familiar with many of their guys. But I know one guy, Erik Johnson. I played with him at Des Moines, and we were pretty good friends out there. It's going to be fun. I love playing guys that I used to play with. There are so many guys around the country that I've played with throughout my life. Hockey is such a small world. So, it's good because I haven't really seen him in two or three years. It's going to be fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing him. Hopefully, he won't do too well against us.
Q: Nearing the end of your third season at Boston College, what games and moments stick out in your mind as the most memorable?
A: It's just flown by so fast. I feel like I was just a freshman. So, it's just been up and down and there have been so many good times. Whether it was getting to the tournament as a freshman and losing in double overtime, or beating Michigan in overtime last year, it's just gone by so fast. It seems like you just come in as a freshman and then soon enough you are a junior.