March 28, 2007
Junior forward Pat Gannon has played in all 40 games this season and has tallied two points on one goal and one assist. Gannon, an Arlington, Mass. native, scored BC's lone goal in last year's championship game. The Eagles will play North Dakota in the semifinal game on April 5 at 8 p.m. in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Give us some general thoughts as the team prepares for the Frozen Four. How are you and your teammates feeling? How do you balance confidence with concentration?
We really have to take it one step at a time. We can't look ahead. It's easy to look ahead. Obviously, the championship game is a big game, but you can't look ahead to that game. You have to look to North Dakota, and we're just doing our best right now to get ready for them and do whatever it takes to beat those guys.
The team went through a tough stretch in the middle of the season, and then turned it around. You have now won 12 straight games. What have been the keys to your recent success?
I feel like everybody's just playing their roles. We have four solid lines. Boyle going back to defense, that's helped us out tremendously. He's really taken on that role and pretty much led us the whole way through those tough games and eventually to that 12-game win streak. The fourth line - Kucharski, Orpik and Lombardi - are hitting anything in sight and putting a couple on the board for us, so that obviously helps us. Hopefully my line - Greene, Price and me - can keep the other team from scoring and hopefully we can keep that up next Thursday.
Boston College has developed a strong reputation under Coach York for playing its best hockey at the end of the season. What's the secret?
It is a long season. We have a lot of games. You have to pretty much prep yourself every practice like you play. We go out there and practice and try to keep up all the hard work. Hopefully, when it comes game time we're prepared. If you're not prepared before the game, then you're not going to be successful on the big stage, under the big lights, like during the Frozen Four. You just have to stay mentally focused on and off the ice. It's the way you eat, the way you work out. We usually have two lifts during the week that keep our strength up and maintain our speed; that helps a lot. And then we just work hard at practice.
There's an 11-day break between your victory over Miami and your semifinal game against North Dakota. How do you stay focused?
It's tough to stay focused because everyone is excited. We're ready to get out to St. Louis, but we'll prep, we'll look at game film, focus on North Dakota. Every day during practice we'll do different drills in order to get ready for that team. The coaches keep us focused. Coach York is a tremendous coach; he doesn't let us look ahead. Every practice when we come out the coaches draw a white line, which is supposed to symbolize once you get past that line it's all hockey, and certainly we do that.
Can you give us some details on the team's routine?
On the road, we'll wake up and usually have breakfast around nine o'clock. We get up nice and early, grab some breakfast, and maybe look at some game film. We'll head off in the bus a couple hours later and go skate. Practice is usually about an hour and a half. We try to keep the practices up-tempo and quick this time of year to keep our stamina up. Then we head back on the bus and maybe take a nap, depending on if it's game day or not. Sometimes we have to watch a little more game film or go over power play and penalty kill. Then we just get ready for the game and once you wake up from your nap you have to be ready because it's game time.
Give us some insight into your line. What does your line attempt to do when you're on the ice?
We pretty much try to cause havoc. We try to keep the opponent's top line from scoring. A lot of times we've been going against guys like Ryan Jones on Miami who are the leading scorers on their team. We try to keep them off the board, and do anything it takes to prevent them from scoring.
You played in two Frozen Four games last year. In fact, you scored the team's lone goal in the championship game. Talk about that experience. How much do you think that experience will help you and the team this year?
The experience definitely helps. Pretty much 95 percent of the team has been in this type of game under the "big lights", as coach says. The pressure and the nerves will hopefully be out after a couple of shifts because most of the guys on the team have been there. I'm hoping we have a little bit more scoring. We lost Chris Collins; he had a hat trick last year, which obviously helped out. But with guys like Nathan Gerbe, Brock Bradford, and Brian Boyle back at the point, we should be okay. They've been really strong for our team and have been the foundation. North Dakota has Oshie, Toews and Duncan, three tremendous players that my line will try to keep off the board. Orpik's line will try to keep banging guys through the boards. Joe Rooney, he's been playing great. He's really picked it up; at regionals he had two goals. We're hoping to get out to a goal lead right off the bat, so we can keep on rolling.
What do you know about North Dakota? What are their strengths? What's their style of play?
I feel like they breed them out there. Pretty much every player is twice the size as I am. They have strength. They have a lot of speed. They have a lot of kids that can put the puck away that we're going to try to keep of the board. We're going to try to be quicker than they are and hopefully get away like we did last year with a win. It should be a game of speed versus size.
Cory Schneider has been at the top of his game of late, and recently earned MVP honors at the Manchester Regional. Give us some thoughts on Cory.
Cory is the backbone of our team. He's so reliable. Every time he's in the net, we know we have a good chance to win. If we get more than three goals, it's almost a guaranteed win. He's so confident in the net that you know he's going to stop the puck.
Talk about Brian Boyle's move to defense. How much has that benefited the team? How has the team made up for his absence on the forward lines?
Ben Smith moved up between Bradford and Gerbe and has played great. Ben's a freshman and came right up there from the fourth line and contributed right away. He's a real scrapper. Anything in front of the net, he knocks away, and we need those big goals to come in the big games.
What do you believe are the keys to a successful run in Missouri?
We just have to keep playing the way we've been playing. Everybody has to play his role. Hopefully Bradford, Gerbe and Rooney keep putting the puck in the net. Boyle's been playing great back at defense. Mike Brennan has also been playing well. We have to try to keep ourselves out of the box. A lot of times that hurts us, being a man down, especially against a dangerous team, such as North Dakota. Cory has obviously been playing great; just keep it up in net, he's been really solid. Also, pick up sticks in front, so we don't let any rebounds in.
Please give us an update on your brother Chris, a 2001 BC graduate and left-handed pitcher.
I was the real lefty pitcher, but I decided to end my baseball days early to play hockey. He's over in Germany right now. He's looking to come home in the fall, so we'll get him back here, we'll get him back in the Heights area. He stays up until 2 in the morning to watch the games over there. He's not happy when we lose, so we have to win, so he's not mad at me.
Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann