Sept. 27, 2005
Sophomore defenseman Mike Brennan played in all 40 games, including 24 Hockey East contests, as a freshman last season. The Smithtown, N.Y. native scored the game-winning goal in Boston College's first-round victory in the NCAA Tournament last March. Brennan registered two goals and six assists in his rookie season and welcomes four freshman defensemen to the team this season.
Q: What did it mean to you to come into the hockey program as a freshman and play in all 40 games?
A: Coming in as a freshman, you're a little fish in the big pond. You don't always know what to expect, exactly. But it's definitely an honor to play hockey for BC. I was very fortunate that I got to play in all 40 games. I got to play with Andrew Alberts, who is now playing with the Boston Bruins. I learned a lot from him. I was just very fortunate and very happy with the way the season went.
Q: After one year, what do you know and what can you tell us about BC hockey that you didn't know before you entered the program?
A: Well, hockey is a very spirited sport here at BC. It's one of the top sports here. The pride that the players take in each game to represent the Eagles is something I really didn't know about until I got here and started playing in each game. There is a certain pride in being an Eagle and doing what you are supposed to do on the ice.
Q: You had the opportunity to compete with 10 seniors during your freshman season. Talk about those seniors - on and off the ice.
A: I think that the seniors were so influential for all the freshmen coming in. We had a lot of leadership from Ryan Shannon, Andrew Alberts and Ryan Murphy. They were great both on and off the ice. They took us under their wing. I only wish them the best for the future. They come back, even now, and give us advice and show us what they have been through. You have to take it all in, from the guys that have been through it. They just took me aside and talked to me and other guys like Brian O'Hanley. You're in a whole new world in college hockey, so you just take it game by game and take what they say and try to use it on the ice.
Q: Last year, you were part of a team that won the Hockey East regular-season title and the Hockey East Tournament before advancing to the NCAA Tournament. What can you take from those experiences?
A: Just being competitive. A bad bounce can go either way. You've just got to play each game as hard as you can and be competitive in each game. One bounce could end your season. We're trying to tell the freshmen now that each game, you've got to take the good with the bad. Sometimes, you'll live to play another game or you're out.
Q: Where do you see areas for individual improvement as you enter your sophomore season?
A: I would like to get bigger and stronger and get a little more competitive. I would like to maybe get a little more into the offensive game as well as staying strong defensively. Basically, I just want to get more competitive.
Q: This season's squad welcomes 10 newcomers - five forwards, four defensemen and one goalie. What will it take for the team to gel? What advice would you offer to the freshmen?
A: The team is gelling already. We're always hanging out together with lifts in the morning. We're constantly talking to the freshmen to let them know what a grind the season is. From each practice to each game, it certainly is a grind for the next six months.
Q: Talk about the team's defense. You have a veteran leader in senior Peter Harrold. One junior. Two sophomores, including yourself, and four new additions.
A: Peter Harrold is our captain and you can learn so much from him on and off the ice. He is going to be a huge part of our team. We have four new guys and we want to show them the ropes and get them ready right away. The freshmen - Tim Filangieri, Brett Motherwell, Anthony Aiello and Tim Kunes - are all great players. We're really excited to have them on the ice with us this season.
Q: Can you offer any quick insights into any of the freshmen, esp. the defensemen? What might BC fans expect from the new players?
A: Looking at the defense, Timmy Kunes is just very gifted offensively. He has great hands and sees the ice very well. Filangeri is a strong kid and is going to be great defensively. Anthony is just the same way. He's got great hands. Motherwell is going to be a very solid addition for us. All four of the kids are going to be great defensively and they come from good teams. We've got some great offensive players coming in, as well. They all have good gifts for this team, and we'll just see what happens.
Q: Last season, goalie Cory Schneider accumulated a 13-1-4 record as a freshman while sharing time in net with graduated senior Matti Kaltiainen. How important will Schneider's 2004-05 experience be this winter?
A: Schneider is definitely the backbone. He is just a great goalie there behind us. He's a huge part of our team, and is a great kid both on and off the ice. He is definitely one of our leaders.
Q: You open the 2005-06 campaign against the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday, Oct. 14. Having attended Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, talk about returning to familiar grounds to open the season.
A: Definitely, I'm excited to get back out to Michigan. I spent two years of my life out there and I lived with a family out there. I can't wait to be able to see them again. Playing in Michigan's Yost Arena is just a great place to play college hockey, and I just can't wait to get back out there and get back on the ice.
Q: Did you attend school with any of their players?
A: I was really close with Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik, two guys who were freshmen last season for Michigan. We still talk online and what not and we can't wait to play each other. I tell them that I'm going to hit them and they tell me that they are going to go around me and score a goal. I mean, it's just funny chirping, but once we get on the ice it's going to be all business.
Q: This past summer - for the second straight year - you participated in the US National Junior Evaluation Camp. Talk about that experience and explain what the camp entails?
A: Well, the camp is a 14-day camp and they round up 44 under-21 players. It's just a great experience all around. I was able to try out at North Dakota and see what it all entails. They have some great players up there. It's hard work and hopefully this year, I can make my way on the [U.S. National Junior Team] roster. To be able to try out was a great experience, for me as hockey player. I can see what kind of competition is out there. We played Finland and Sweden in round-robin games. So, to be able to play against competition from around the world is always a blast.
The 2005-2006 men's ice hockey outlook will be posted at www.bceagles.com on Thursday, Sept. 29.
- interview conducted by senior Alex Timiraos