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Women's Ice Hockey's Cristin Stuart Predicts A Strong Season

Stuart recorded one assist in the Eagles' victory over RPI in the season opener

Stuart recorded one assist in the Eagles' victory over RPI in the season opener

Oct. 12, 2006

Junior defensewoman Cristin Stuart played in 32 games last season and tied for third on the Eagles with 12 assists. Stuart and the Eagles have played two games already this season, posting a 2-0 record. Stuart, a Rochester, MN resident, has recorded one assist this season.

The Eagles won on Saturday with a 6-0 shutout against Quinnipiac. What were the most promising aspects of the home opener?

I think overall as a team we played really well. Our freshmen have truly come into their own early in the season, and they played very well. Molly Schaus, our freshman goalie, registered a shutout, so that was very big for us and our forwards found the back of the net. Sometimes we've had trouble scoring, so we had a lot of big goals from a lot of people and our defense played really solidly.

The Eagles travel to Maine to take on the Black Bears on Sunday. Can you tell us anything about the Maine squad?

Maine is always a good team at home. They're a tough team to play. It's kind of a long trip - one of our longer road trips. They kind of gave us a little run for our money last year up there, but they should be a good team this year, in the top four in our league. It'll be a good game, a good match-up.

Last year's Beanpot was a great success for the Eagles, as they won Boston College's first-ever Beanpot trophy. You had a three-assist effort in the first round win over Northeastern. Talk about what the Beanpot means to you and your teammates.

The Beanpot is an unbelievable thing to experience, actually. I'm from Minnesota originally, so I didn't really know the significance of the Beanpot until I got here, but the chance to put on the Boston College jersey and represent this school and this team in that four-school tournament is an unbelievable experience. It was really, really special for us to be able to win it last year and now it's here [at BC] this year, so we'll have a chance to defend the title for the first time ever in our home rink, so it's pretty special.

The Eagles finished with an impressive 16-4-1 record in the Hockey East Conference last year, and were picked second in the preseason Hockey East coaches' poll. What has the team focused on in practice in order to improve upon last year's very successful season?

We've really just been focused on working hard, finishing - whether that's in front of our net or whether that's in front of their net, finding ways to get the puck in the back of the net. We've got to find a way to score goals. We focus on defensive zones and preparing now for the end of the season where we make other teams quit and we're in shape and we can make it until the end of the season.

Your season is one of the longest, stretching from the end of September through March. How do you keep your legs during such a grueling season? What kind conditioning do you do as hockey players?

As a hockey player, the best way to condition is to skate. Nothing is the same as skating. It's a pretty long season, it's pretty grueling, and it gets pretty hard, but we have a great coaching staff and a very smart head coach. He works us when we need to be worked and he gives us some days off so we can recover. We have strength coaches in the weight room that really help us out with recovery and flexibility and doing what we really need to do to be able to take it the whole season.

What are some goals for the team this season?

We definitely want to match what we did last year, but we want to go so much farther. We want that Beanpot Championship again. We want that Hockey East Championship this year, we don't want to take second. Last year, our highest national ranking was eighth and I think we can definitely go a step above that and make it to the national tournament this year. We want to make it to Lake Placid in the spring time, is what we really want to do.

You recorded 12 assists and two goals as a sophomore defensewoman last year. What did you work on during the off-season, and what part of your game do you hope to improve most this season?

I really worked on my strength and my quickness. I'm a pretty defensive defensewoman, I guess you'd say, so I don't score a lot of goals, but I really focus my game on defending the front of our net and moving the puck up the ice. I'd like to work on scoring goals, too, but that'll come.

As a defensewoman, what is it like to play in front of freshman goalie Molly Schaus, who has already earned consecutive conference awards for her exceptional play in net?

She's a great goalie and you could see that right when we got to school, in our first practices, in our first game and then our game on Saturday. She is a freshman, she's young, but you're comfortable playing in front of her, because you're very confident in her ability and how she can stop the puck.

With only two seniors on the roster this season, how important is it for the experienced players like you to help guide the younger players, and what does the youth on this team mean for the future?

It is tough with two seniors. That usually doesn't happen very often, but our junior class is very big, even the sophomore class has some really great leaders in it. I think as a whole everybody works together to lead such a young team. We've been a young team for a long time and now that some of us are starting to get older I think everybody takes on a role and contributes. Our freshman class that has come in, they're going to be a pretty special group for this program in the next few years. They're going to really carry on what has been started in the few years before us that really started getting this program going. I think that having such a young team is just going to keep it moving until we win a national championship, if not this year.

Alison Quandt and Sarah Carlson joined the coaching staff this year as assistant coaches. What is it like to have former teammates coaching you this season?

It's great. It's unbelievable. They were huge parts of this program prior to us getting here. Evcryone knows that Sarah's an unbelievable person and she brings so much to the table. She brought so much to the table as a captain here, as a student here, and she brings so much to a coaching staff. It's really, really nice to have her back. Alison was a great part of our team last year. She was a captain, she was our goalie, she did so much for us, and it's really nice to have her back, not just to have around for everybody, but to lead the two young goalies.

How have your brothers (who play professional hockey) influenced your hockey career?

They've influenced me tremendously. It's nice to have three of them in front you kind of teaching you what you're supposed to do. They're three of the hardest working people I've ever known in my life and they're very, very dedicated to the sport. They changed my mind from being a figure skater when I was really young to putting on hockey skates and taking on that role. I'm very thankful to have them as role models because they've done a lot in their sport and they're still playing.

Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann

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