Q & A With Coach Paul Pearl

Nov. 21, 2005

Can you talk about the play of your first line consisting of seniors Pierre Napert-Frenette, Tyler McGregor and Blair Bartlett? They have scored 15 goals and have been a major force offensively.

Offensively they have been fantastic and they have been really good defensively too. We expected a lot from that line going into the season and nine games into it we have gotten what we expected. I couldn't be happier with how they have played so far. The whole thing now is to be consistent and continue to play at a high level.

Do you think it is good chemistry between them or that they have played together?

They have played together sometimes but we have never put them together on a line. Blair and Pierre played together a ton as freshman with Jonas Tomiuck when he was a sophomore. They played really well together. Tyler played with Greg Kealey earlier in his career and he played with Andrew McKay last year. So the three of them have never really played together. Towards the end of last season, Tyler and Pierre started to play on the same line so there is some familiarity but not like four years of playing together. They just click.

On Friday night, freshman Dewey Thomson scored a huge goal with just three seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game with AIC. How impressed were you with that clutch play?

It was fantastic. Dewey is such a solid fundamental hockey player. He is a freshman so he does some stuff wrong but he has the basics of a good solid player. He has the talent so he could really be a top end kid as he continues to get more ice time and as the year goes along he will. He has good offensive skills. On that goal he was smart enough to be kind of off to the side a little bit. There was a lot of traffic in front of the net and Dewey stood off to the side and was able to tip it so that was a great play.

How do you think you match up with the three teams (Rensselaer, Providence and Nebraska-Omaha) in the Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament?

Last year we didn't match up well with RPI on the penalty kill. We gave up four power play goals against them so we need to be ready for that. They have an outstanding freshman goaltender in Mathias Lange who has been great for them. We played a very good game with Providence last year in their tournament. They are fast and big on defense which is a prototypical Hockey East team. If we end up playing them we would really have to be ready. We have never played Nebraska-Omaha, but I know they have a really good program so we would have to be ready for them as well.

Do you think playing in this tournament is a good way to see at this point in the season how your team stacks up with teams from other conferences?

It is nice to go out and not worry about the grind of how many points we can get, now we are just worrying about winning a tournament and that is kind of fun. It is like a season within a season. We try to play as many in-season tournaments as we can. Everyone is 0-0-0 and you just play. And I think the players love it too. It will be a great experience for us because they have a great banquet and it is the oldest college hockey holiday tournament in the nation. I remember when I was an assistant at Brown we went to it. We are looking forward to it.

Can you talk about the play of your defensemen so far this season?

I think they have gotten better each weekend. I think from a defensive stand point like playing in our zone and covering the cage, they have been really good. We still have to get better in moving the puck up quicker. We do a good job of it but not great. If we want to be a really good team in February our transition offense has to get better. Our transition defense has been fantastic. We have been back checking and picking people up. Sometimes I feel when the other team turns the puck over to us we are not zipping it up the ice like I would like. We will continue to work on it and they are very capable.