Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dartmouth Returns Home, Looks for First Win

Obviously the season has not gotten off to the start that you and the team were expecting.
Coach Gaudet: I've said all along that we play in the toughest college hockey conference in the country. I thought we played well in both games this past weekend. Do we make mistakes? Yea we do but I love this team, they play hard and work hard. Obviously it has to do with a little bit of luck and a bounce of the puck here or there and the game could be completely different. I'm a firm believer that the harder your work the luckier you become and that's just something we have to keep doing. This is a game that I've been involved in pretty much all my life and it's not a job for me, it's a passion and we have guys on the team that just love the game but sometimes you have to step back and realize that even if you play hard things may not always work out. I thought Princeton played well in an overtime game and it's a credit to them. Then the next night we played a very skilled Quinnipiac team that really moves the puck well. I thought we traded chances in the first period and were down 3-0 but then we got some good play in the second period where we controlled the puck and made it 3-2 going into the third. But we just keep on battling and I thought we were better this week than last week.

We had James Mello come into the game in the second period against Quinnipiac and you said you were hoping it would jump start the team. But do you also think it was also good to have Jody take a step back?
Coach Gaudet: Jody can't be blamed because we had great chances down at the other end. I can't look at the Quinnipiac goalie and say he was the reason that we were down either. To pull Jody out was big for me. I don't do that very often and I do that thoughtfully but it was a way to have him sit back and take the pressure off him. James has worked hard and plays very well and he deserved a chance. I wanted to get Jody through the first period and put James in to start the next frame. When I told James in the locker room that he was going in and asked him if he needed some practice shots he just said that he was ready to go. I thought he did a real nice job and I think it was good for our team. I think it was a positive thing on a lot of fronts.

Two guys who really stood out after the weekend was Scott Fleming and Dustin Walsh.
Coach Gaudet: Flem is a guy that we rely on as much and maybe more so for his work ethic. He's not a big guy but plays big and he's not afraid to go to the net and tough areas of the rink. Scott's a guy who really works hard and has a good skill level but his biggest skill is work ethic and that's how it's always been with him. He's good with the puck and can shoot and thinks the game well and to see his work ethic pay off has been great. He's going to just get better and better and that's going to pay off for us. Flem's not all about scoring goals and that's what I like about him. Dustin just shows flashes as a young player of having a special quality with the puck. He's a big kid with a long reach and is a very good skater for his size. He's got a really good total package and he'll get his strength built up as he gets older. His size and ability with the puck will continue to be enhanced as he goes along. It was a nice goal he scored, you could say it wasn't a pretty goal but it's the kind of goal you like to see as a coach because it was a hard working goal that had quite a few of our guys involved in the play.

We've talked about most of the freshmen class but this past weekend you had a chance to see Alex Goodship play.
Coach Gaudet: Alex is a very strong player and when you see him on the ice you don't realize how big and strong he really is. It doesn't show as readily but he's very strong and is a very good skater. He's very diligent defensively and has an excellent shot. He has some upside offensively and has always had an ability to score goals. Alex is a very reliable player for a freshman and that's something you need in a younger player. I like his game, he's very quiet about what he does but he just goes out every day and work hard. It's a tough call because we have a number of guys that can and will play for the team but it's a matter of trying to sort it all out right now.

This weekend we have Clarkson and St. Lawrence as we're finally back home. Both of them have also struggled a bit in the early goings of the season but that doesn't really speak to the quality of them as opponents does it?
Coach Gaudet: Both are very good teams. Clarkson and St. Lawrence have 18 full scholarships and sometimes what happens is that the puck just doesn't bounce your way sometimes. I think both are going through stretches but they are both very, very good teams who have skilled players and quite a bit of depth. I like the way SLU plays, they are very quick, aggressive and play hard all the time. I thought they were the best team in our league the second half of last season, they were almost unstoppable when they got going. Both teams are well coached high quality teams. I've said it before the challenge of playing the ECAC at the division I level every night just gets better and better. We'll really need to have our "A" game and hopefully get a couple of good bounces. We're going to work really hard against good teams and we look forward to playing at home.

The Big Green Continues Early Season Road Trip

It's been a difficult start to the season mainly in terms of opponents and travel hasn't it?
Coach Gaudet: As I've said in the past, I think the ECAC is the best its been and arguably is one of the best conferences in the country. Cornell was excellent, especially on special teams. We need to continue to get better in that area there's no argument about that. We're battling to find our way right now but I see some good signs. We played hard but they were playing excellent hockey. I thought it was a good game against Colgate the next night. We generated a lot of offense and they cashed in on the power play. It was a situation where I liked the way our team was competing and playing, we're just not getting the results we want at this point.

Dustin Walsh and Mark Goggin scored against Colgate, how important is it that the freshman class start contributing right way?
Coach Gaudet: I think it's great for their confidence. They're both very good players and both have an offensive capability and they were nice goals. Couple of nice passes that set the situations up and both guys finished up well. To have them contribute is important and to get their confidence up will only help us.

How has it been to keep Jody O'Neill from getting down on himself and how do you work at not having so many pucks get past him?
Coach Gaudet: Cornell really exploited us on the power play and back door situations. We've got to get better at defending and it's not the goalie's fault. He played excellent against Colgate and battled hard against Cornell. Goalie statistics are so heavily related to how well the team plays. We have given the opposition some opportunities that Jody can't be expected to handle all by himself. The way we attacked the game against Colgate, I thought we were a much better team then we were the night before. Those are things I like to see right now, the progression and as that happens the goalie is going to be protected a bit more and have a better chance of focusing more on the first shot then the rebounds and back door shots. It's not from lack of effort but maybe from focusing on the wrong things sometimes. So much of this game is about luck.

How different will this team be when it hits the Thompson Arena ice in two week?
Coach Gaudet: I think they will be a more hardened team. It's not like our schedule gets easier but when you travel there's different things you have to deal with. The familiarity of being home will help and make things a big easier. The games are still going to be really tough but I think these road trips are good ones, good teams in their buildings and they're all intense. It's fun to compete and watch a team grow, knowing that we're going to evolve into a very solid hockey team that is battle-tested.

Our junior class continues to lead the team with guys like Adam Estoclet, Evan Stephens, Scott Fleming, Andrew Owsiak, etc. How important is this class?
Coach Gaudet: Well they are important in terms of the size of the class. They are key guys who have high expectations for themselves. I don't try to temper that as a coach but what happens is that through expectations there comes pressure on them. I try to take that off by letting them know there are a lot of guys on this team that can be key players, maybe just in certain situations or roles. We need to continue to work hard day in and day out.

Talk about this weekend with Princeton and Quinnipiac. How hard is it to prepare for one team that has been on the ice as long as your team has and then the next night you get a team that hit the ice three weeks prior to your team?
Coach Gaudet: It evens out over the course of the season and my hope is we're getting close to evening that out now. Princeton started out with four games at home and we started on the road but that will flip-flop for us later on. They are a very good team that has been rated very highly. They have a very good skill level and work ethic. Then the next night is Quinnipiac who again is highly skilled and is high octane and with a good defense. They'll be good tests for us but we just need to take one at a time. With more games under your belt you really start to learn your strengths and weaknesses and traits of your team and I think Quinnipiac has been able to figure that out. We, as well as Princeton is in the process of figuring that out but we'll get there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week Two Ready to Begin

This week head coach Bob Gaudet sat down to talk about not only his team's loss to Harvard last weekend but how they are going to rebound against Cornell and Colgate on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6 and 7.

What are some things you'll be looking for this weekend?
Coach Gaudet: Both of these places are fun places to play. Cornell is in an energized building, a good team to play against and they're always a challenge. Colgate is another really good team. They are having a big Silver Puck event so they should have a nice crowd there on Saturday. It will be a fun trip for the guys, a good challenge. Coming off a game last Friday night to Harvard where we dropped it 5-3, I like the signs coming out of this team. It's early in the season and they're playing hard. We didn't deposit the puck as readily as we would have liked but we generated a lot of offense I thought. On the other hand we need to do a better job of keeping it out of our net through team work. We've got to continue to hone our game and this weekend will help with that as both teams will be a good test for us.

With a new season and a young team, how tough is it to come up with a line chart and pairings and starters this early in the year?
Coach Gaudet: It's really difficult because we have a lot of good solid depth on our team and a number of very good hockey players. So the line combinations and defensive pairings kind of evolves over time. Typically it's not something right out of the gate. Sometimes we look back at pairings from the beginning of the year and are surprised at the lines we started out with, but it's a learning process as a team and as a coach. We need to learn what particular guy's strengths are going to help us and in what area. It's really a puzzle to figure and it does take some time to do that. I do like the way our guys are practicing, they're working really hard. The energy level is great and they're really thinking about concentrating and focusing in practice to get better and better each day. That helps me to make the best call on different combinations.

You've talked a lot about Jody O'Neill and his resilience and his work ethic. As a former goalie yourself how much does Jody need to put Friday night aside and concentrate on moving forward?
Coach Gaudet: Well Jody is a true student of the game. He's one of those guys that wants to talk about the game directly after and see video and he wants to always be at his very best. There are situations where I thought he made some great saves for us against Harvard but he wants to find a way to stop one or two of the ones that went by him. We've worked on that in practice this week. I really like his attitude because he doesn't get down on himself and he's never satisfied. He knows that he's working hard and that he's got good solid ability but he's always trying to get better. I think his leadership showing his work ethic, the team feeds on that. It's also a boost to our other two goalies, James Mello and Charles Corsi.

We were able to play four of our six freshmen against Harvard. What were some things that stuck out with you about the four of them?
Coach Gaudet: Mike Keenan is a guy that plays a lot like a veteran player. He's got a fairly simple game philosophy where he just goes out and does his job. He doesn't get caught up in a lot of other things and I think that's a real mature attitude. We'll continue to work with him and hone him and I think he'll get better throughout the season. He's going to have a very good career here. Dustin Walsh is a big, lanky guy who has real spurts of brillance but it's just that consistency that we need to get out of him. Same with Mark Goggin who understands the game real well. It's a process with young players in learning the defensive side of the game, learning the tenacity that you need to play at this level. But Mark's a very good prospect who is going to be a good player for us. He really can think about the game offensively and as both he and Dustin get stronger physically they're going to be excellent players. Jason Bourgea is one of those guys that plays with a lot of energy, he knows one speed. He's very reminiscent of Danny Shribman and Dan Casella. They were guys that bring that energy to the lineup and what Jason brings is that energy as well as a solid skill-level. As a freshman to have those skills tells me he's going to get better as he gains confidence. He had a couple of good chances the other night. I thought all four of the guys did a good job and we've got others that I think are going to show as the season progresses that they're very good players too.

Our first goal on Friday was scored by Rob Smith. How nice is it to have him back and making contributions early?
Coach Gaudet: Smitty is such a great kid. He's one of those guys that is just no-nonsense. He's always doing his best and trying his best and is a very coachable kid. He's a big guy that will fight for the puck and will track it down. To have him score a goal early like that, right off the bench will help him get his legs back. He was out all last season and hasn't played any hockey in almost a year and so to jump in there and be involved in the battle right off the bat is a real good sign for our team because Smitty is going to get better. His hockey conditioning is going to come back and he's a guy that we really can rely on in all kinds of situations. He'll always give you his best, the kind of guy you love to have on your team. He's a tough guy to play against when he's on his game.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recently head coach Bob Gaudet sat down and answered a few questions as the Big Green gets ready for its first regular season game of 2009-10 against Harvard on Friday, Oct. 30.

Talk a little bit about the exhibition and scrimmage games from last weekend.
Coach G: They were good games and we played two good teams. Didn't turn out in our favor on the scoreboard but it was a learning experience for us. I really liked McGill, they had a very good team, very skilled. It was a very clean game up and down. We had a couple of power plays, penalty killing but mainly it was five-on-five. It gave us a good chance to watch the guys just play. We try to make those games appear like real games because it's important for the guys to get used to that. It gave me a chance to get a lot of players into the lineup.

How important are those exhibition games when you open up against a team like Harvard?
Coach G: It's really important because we have such a quick turnaround. We basically had a week of practice and it's such a short window of opportunity. So to play a couple of games it gives you an evaluation versus just practicing. You can practice all kinds of situations but you can never really duplicate game time. Harvard's in a similiar situation so it should be interesting. The guys have taken to things quite well and we're getting a good feel for personnel. We have some good depth at all positions so it was good to see them play.

You were able to see most of the freshmen play. What were your thoughts?
Coach G: I thought they played really well, did a really good job. Dustin Walsh is a big, tall kid who had limited practice time leading up to that. When he gets more strength he's going to factor quite a bit. Mark Goggin, another forward, scored a goal against McGill. It was a good play with a nice pass from sophomore Doug Jones. Mark shows flashes that he's got the ability around the net. He's another guy that when he gets stronger he'll have more knee bend and a more explosive stride. I look forward to that because when he gets stronger, he'll be that much better. Jason Bourgea has done really well for the time that we've been on the ice. Has tremendous energy and is a very skilled kid. He gets around the ice quick and is an athletic, energetic forward with good skill level. Alex Goodship scored a goal for us last weekend and did a good job. Another guy with good speed, pretty strong, a mature kid physically. Not very tall but thick. Mike Keenan is really a gem. Mike is a warrior, he's quick, he's aggressive, he's smart. He's got a good skill level and he's very smart. He's quite a competitor and he's only going to get better.

What are you looking at for Friday?
Coach G: The quick turnaround is good and bad. It esculates things like I said so you have to really focus as a team and a staff on what's important. Coming up with a lineup isn't easy. We may have guys on the lineup on Friday that are going to be integral parts later on in the season and we may have someone else that's an integral part week to week. It may be that way throughout the season. We have several guys that could play different roles on our team, we really have some depth.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Views from Captain Peter Boldt and Assistant Captains Joe Gaudet and Scott Fleming.

Peter Boldt – "Practices have been going well so far this year. Myself as well as Joe Gaudet and Scott Fleming as well as the upperclassmen have been setting a positive example on and off the ice and have been working hard to make sure that the freshmen understand what we're expecting of them this year. We see ourselves finishing at the top of the league and making a trip to Albany come March. In fact, with the the experience, skill, and work ethic that we're determined to showcase this season, those aren't just our goals, they're our expectations."

Joe Gaudet -
"The preseason has been going very well. We worked last weekend with a Russian skating coach from the Penguins and the guys worked hard and were able to have some fun too. Captain's practices have been going well, all of the guys put in a lot of effort in the offseason and have come back in good shape. We're chomping at the bit waiting for the season to start, it's hard when all of the other non-Ivies are already playing games while we haven't even started practicing, but we're being diligent and we'll be ready to play when the season begins. We're going to do everything we can this year to make it back to Albany and then hopefully Detroit after that. It's a long season, but this is this best team we've put together in quite a few years and we have all the pieces we need to be a successful hockey club.

Scott Fleming – "Captain's practices have been going well so far. Everyone is comfortable in the locker room and on the ice. I think we are ready to have the coaches come in and begin regular practices. Regular season practices start up Friday and we have a busy schedule following but we feel we are prepared. Once we hit the ice it will feel like hockey season has begun, which we all cannot wait for. We are excited about this upcoming year and expect big things, all we have to do is come together and work hard as a team."

"Last week we had our annual CanAm hockey game. The Canadian team had a few less players and we were able to keep it close for two periods but we ran out of steam and lost in the end. It was a crushing defeat for the Canadians and hopefully next year we can represent our country better."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The Dartmouth men's hockey team has launched its first-ever blog, "Outside the Crease", which will feature insight from players and those working with the team about the upcoming season. The weekly blog will feature insight from players, coaches and those behind the scenes. The Big Green is excited about the 2009-10 season and is ready to compete for another ECAC Hockey and Ivy League title.