Q & A With Hockey Coach Paul Pearl

Jan. 5, 2006

What do you think the team took out of the Ohio Hockey Classic experience?

I think they took that we need to play defense consistently and that is what will lead to our offense. The first night against Ohio State we were trying to be too individualistic and try to beat guys one-on-one. The second night against RPI we really bought into offensively getting the puck deep and getting them to turn the puck over, while in our zone doing a good job defensively and then jumping out on the transition.

This weekend you have a home-and-home series with Sacred Heart who is tied with your team for second place in Atlantic Hockey. How do you guys match up with them?

If they are like every other Sacred Heart team that we have seen, then they are going to be fast and finish their checks. They will have good goaltending and be well coached. They are always a very good team. We will have our hands full this weekend, as will they. I think this will be a good series. We have always had great up and down games with these guys. For us going into the Milford Ice Pavilion on Friday, we will really need to play a good solid road game because it is a tough rink to play in. So we will have to be ready.

In the win over RPI the four goals were scored by three lines. Was it nice to see the offense spread out?

Yeah I felt we started to get more of that at the end of the first half of the season. Up in Canisius I know that Dale Reinhardt's line scored a lot of points and I know the other guys are chipping in. By the very nature of the game the first two lines are going to get the bulk of the goals because they are playing on the power play which is when you score. Cal St. Denis really, really stepped up his game the last four or five game of the first half of the season and now this past weekend. He is a very good player and I think the best of what he can do is still to be seen as he continues to mature as a player. He works really hard and as he continues to emerge I think that will help us develop some more scoring and balance.

Tony Quesada and Ben Conway have both played very well in goal so far this season, as each of them have been named Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week once. Can you talk about their play this season?

They both have been around the block and they both know what it takes to win. To have them both playing well as seniors is I'm sure very rewarding for them and very gratifying for me to see. It is a great pleasure because I have been on the other side where you don't have any goaltenders to rely on. So to have two kids to rely on is a really good thing for us and we expect it to continue.

James Sixsmith is now third on the team in scoring with four goals and nine assists for 13 points. He has been contributing more points recently and looks to be picking up momentum offensively. How important for the team is it for him to continue to score?

We always tell our forwards not to worry about the points and the goals but to worry about the chances. Since the first game he has gotten chance after chance. He is a goal scorer and he will get his points. Those things eventually add up. Like in baseball you look at the back of the bubble gum card and that is what Manny Ramirez will end up with. Players are going to end up with their stats and the thing with Sixsmith is that he is so good at creating opportunities with his speed and quickness that he is going to get points. It wasn't like I was ever concerned or ever thought that he wouldn't get going. I think he is one of the more dynamic kids in the league. He will continue to provide solid offense.