More Sleeper than Sniper: Sneep Leads BC
by Cara Spilsbury/CHN Reporter
BOSTON In Boston College’s 3-0 win against Vermont in Friday’s first Hockey East semifinal, goaltender John Muse stonewalled all 30 of Vermont’s shots. And each member of the Eagles' second line — Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes and Chris Kreider — was responsible for one of the night’s goals.
But from goal line to goal line, a young Boston College defense, led by lone senior Carl Sneep, quietly helped shut down the Vermont offense.
It's been this combination that has led Boston College on its run this season, in somewhat "under-the-radar" fashion. BC won a title in 2008, slipped off last year as it regrouped from the talent losses, and was expected this year to still be on the way up, but not there yet.
But it's been Sneep’s playm and his influence on the freshmen, in the semi-final win and throughout the season, that has been key — and that hasn’t been overlooked by his team.
Friday night, the Minnesota native was the elder statesmen in a group with four freshmen (Philip Samuelsson, Brian Dumoulin, Patrick Wey and Patch Alber) and a sophomore (Tommy Cross). Another sophomore, Edwin Shea, was sidelined due to injury.
Boston College coach Jerry York calls Sneep a “mirror” for all the younger defensemen.
“They watch his work ethic and they watch him in practice,” York said. “He’s been called upon and he has embraced that role.”
According to York, Sneep has improved his offense immensely this season, too, a trait that the younger players often emulate. At 15:49 of the first period, he tallied an assist on the first Eagles goal, netted by Kreider. The assist extended Sneep’s point streak to four games.
Samuelsson mirrored Sneep’s first period effort in the second period, recording his first postseason point with the primary assist on the Eagles’ second goal of the game, netted by Ben Smith.
Arguably, no one is happier on this Eagles squad to have a leader take control on defense than Muse. Having Sneep in charge of the corps before him has been a blessing.
“Coming into the season, there were a lot of questions just because we were so young on defense,” Muse said. “He (Sneep) has stepped up big this year. He’s playing a leadership role on the defense with a bunch of young kids, which isn’t an easy thing to do.”
In the locker room, Muse has seen that leadership in action.
“He gets them in line before games if he doesn’t think they’re ready to go,” Muse said. “I remember one game in particular, the guys were kind of loose in the locker room before the game and he just stood up and said, ‘Look, let’s get focused.’”
Sneep’s niche as a leader is not based in seniority alone. He has four hard-fought years with the Eagles under his belt. As a freshman during the 2006-07 season, when the Eagles lost out to Michigan State for the national championship, Sneep played in 38 games and scored one goal and assisted nine others. Their NCAA Championship year in 2007-08, he scored three goals and had 12 assists, following that up with two goals and had nine assists his junior year.
Now in his senior season, Sneep has played in all 36 games this season, was an All-Hockey East Honorable Mention selection, and leads all B.C. defensemen in scoring with 24 points—nine goals and 15 assists, ranking him seventh among all Hockey East blueliners.
“He’s stepped up beyond expectations for us,” said Muse.