November 1, 2006 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Schneider Holds BC Hopes

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

No matter how hard it tried, it seems, Boston College couldn't avoid Tuesday's "trap" game, losing to Providence after the weekend road sweep at Wisconsin.

On the other hand, Providence just might be an OK team, certainly capable of knocking anyone off, including BC. Tuesday's loss was nothing like the 7-1 home pasting at the hands of Notre Dame the weekend before Wisconsin, and there's no reason to panic now. Especially with Cory Schneider in goal, playing, by and large, the best hockey of his career so far.

"We tried to forget about (Notre Dame)," Schneider said, before Tuesday's game and after the Wisconsin weekend. "They played a great game and dominated in every aspect. After the game, (coach Jerry York) wasn't too happy. He was more upset with the lack of hustle and effort. They threw us around, and we can't have it happen.

"(Against Wisconsin) it was nice to prove what kind of team we are this year. ... Talk about last year didn't really factor into anybody. We were just eager to prove the Notre Dame game was a fluke. Coach told us that sweeping (Wisconsin) won't get us a national title, but the (RPI) bonus points will be that much more important."

The guiding hand of Jerry York will once again find the right buttons for his team. That's typical, Schneider says; in the times he's struggled in the last two years, York usually knows how to help him through it.

"It's amazing how he does it," Schneider said. "He preaches character so much. ... You make sure to do things for a reason, and have purpose in what you do. He's more a manager than a coach.

"He won't scream and yell at individual people. We do little things, like we have to cut our hair and shave. It's not the hair that matters, it's the discipline involved. He's more angry for us missing a class than what happens on the ice.

"He's very observant. He sees more than any of us realize."

One place Schneider has improved the most in his time at BC is in handling the puck. That was on display Friday when he went behind the net to help the 'D' on a 3-on-5 shorthanded situation, sent the puck up the boards, and eventually it went to Nathan Gerbe for a rare two-man-down goal that made it 1-0.

"My freshman year I was nervous, getting used to the speed," Schneider says. "This year, it's coming together. In the summer, I made a point of working on decision making, getting out to the puck quicker. Passing is one thing, but knowing where to put it is more important."

Schneider also switched to a stick with a bigger curve, which takes some getting used to in saving pucks, but has helped in stickhandling.

The games last weekend against Wisconsin were an opportunity for the Eagles to get some revenge on the Badgers for last year's national title. That's been talked to death. But it was also just an opportunity for Schneider to again go up against one of the best goalies in the country in Brian Elliott, and those are the times that goalies like Schneider look forward to.

"You know you have to be on top of your game," Schneider said. "It's a lot harder to get (goals) back. You pay attention to detail that much more. You can't have mental lapses.

Schneider, who said he enjoys watching other good goaltenders, and their subtle differences, while the game is going on, may soon get an opportunity to watch even better ones on a more regular basis. He was a first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2005, and will have the opportunity to sign after this season.

"I talked to Vancouver briefly (last summer) and made it clear right off the bat I was coming back," Schneider said.

So now, it's concentrating on getting back to the national championship game, and potentially winning it. Having Brian Boyle around, too, makes that possibility that much more palpable. But there are no guarantees in sports, not even for a team with as much talent and drive as Boston College. You mix that up, put all your eggs in one basket, and you still might not be left with anything at the end. So it's the journey that must be appreciated if you are to avoid oppressing yourself with the weight of expectations.

"Like coach says, 'Winning's hard, it's easy to lose,'" says Schneider. "Ultimately, that is our goal, a national championship. But we have other smaller goals on the way. We've got to progress there. We don't want to fall into traps. It's a journey."

A message that will be taken even more to heart after Tuesday night.

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