Q & A With Holy Cross Men's Hockey Coach Paul Pearl

Feb. 15, 2006

Tony Quesada is either first or second in all of the Holy Cross all-time records for goaltenders. What has he meant to the program as a freshman to right up to now?

The great thing about Tony is that he has improved every year. He was a bit banged up last year with injuries so probably the middle of last season didn't go as well as he wanted it to. But for the most part he has gotten better and better. That is what you love to see from a player. He has done well academically here and he has been great all around campus. It has been fantastic to have him be part of the program and we want all of our guys to have that same type of curve. We would have a lot of great players if everyone was like that.

Quesada was just named one of 15 semifinalists for the 54th Walter Brown Award as he is the fourth Holy Cross player in the history of the program to receive this honor. What does this mean to the program?

I think it is great because we are trying to get our name associated with some of the top programs. We feel like we play a level of hockey with those other schools in Hockey East and the ECAC so to have Tony in there with kids from those two leagues is great. Tony is a very viable candidate. If you look at his numbers and compare what he has done with everyone else, he is a very good candidate for that award. I think it helps in the maturation of the program.

What do you think your team took out of the Canisius series?

What we took out of it was that we have to be really good defensively at all times and that you will not always be able to cover your defensive mistakes by outscoring the other team. We ran into a hot goaltender Saturday night so we were not able to get our usual three to five goals. When you are facing a goalie that hot you have to win 1-0 and we didn't. Take nothing away from Canisius. I think they played very well and I like their team, but the three goals we gave up I think we just handed to them and you can't do that at the Division I college hockey level. And as we get closer to the playoffs we have to do it even less because every point is so important.

What kind of games do you expect this weekend at Mercyhurst?

I think the games will be similar to when we played them here in November. The games will be fast and will be up and down. Both teams I think are kind of similar in their talent and skill levels. When we go up their on the road and play those guys it has always been great games and a great challenge for our program. And with it being three weeks shy of the playoffs it is perfect to be in a tough environment against a tough team. I think it just makes you a better team.

Is there an added sense of excitement as you get closer and closer to the playoffs?

I think as the season progresses there is certainly a sense excitement for any team no matter what place you are in as the playoffs are looming because that is what you are playing for. I think though a big mistake can be and I probably made it some when I first started coaching is to constantly remind the guys of the standings and big games. You have to worry about yourself and what we are doing each night in order to get where you want to be. The best example is Manny Ramirez. He just doesn't think about anything other than hitting the baseball. If he is worried about bases loaded versus no body on base that is going to take away from his ability to hit the baseball. If it is the middle of the second period and we are worried about what place we are in they are going to stick a couple of power play goals in on us. We just need to focus on here and now. It is the biggest sports cliché but we really need to take it one game at a time. We need to win as many of these periods and games that we can and if that results in a regular season title that is fantastic. But then we will still need to win three games in March.

Can you talk about the play of your third and fourth lines?

The biggest struggle those guys probably face is that sometimes their jobs are not fun. They don't get to go on the power play and we ask them to play defense and block shots. Not that we don't ask that of everyone, but just by the nature of their roles that is where they end up. To have all of these guys come through with big plays during the year has been great. Tanner Fogarty is a real solid hockey player. When we beat UMass at the start of the season, it was Kai Magnussen who scored the goal at the end of the game. On Fogarty's goal in the Bentley game it was Chris Trovato and Brian Kolb doing all the dirty work down below. Those guys have really been going hard. Cal St. Denis has really come on in the second half of this year and has started to shape into the kind of player we want him to be.