Cory Schneider ’04 Leads Boston College into Frozen Four; Kucharski ’05, Rolocek ’05 Among PA Alums Playing in College

Cory Schneider ’04 has won many accolades and titles in his lifetime; on the ice, he has won gold for the USA in international competition, a Hockey East championship (and came a post away from another), was drafted 26th overall in the NHL draft, and owns countless awards for his play through the highest levels, among other endeavors. But now the upbeat and unpretentious goaltender and his teammates of Boston College look to continue their search for perhaps the most prized accomplishment of all of their careers: the NCAA national championship. “We’re halfway there, so there was a period of excitement for us, and now we’re anxious to get back out on the ice and finish the job,” said Schneider, recently named the Worcester NCAA Regional MVP, for backstopping #3 seed Boston College (25-12-3) to two consecutive shutout wins, both 5-0 scores, over #2 seed Miami (OH) and rival #1 seed Boston University two weekends ago. It marked the first time in Regional History a goaltender had shut out consecutive opponents, giving Schneider an NCAA-leading eight shutouts to go along with his amazing 23 wins, 2.03 GAA, and .930 Save Percentage. His teammates also include forwards and alums Kyle Kucharski ’05 and Joe Adams ’03, who have combined to chip in 1 goal in 34 games total. Of his new level of play after Andover, Schneider imparts, “Hockey East’s a big step up, definitely. Instead of usually one good line like in prep, you have to face three good lines here. The guys are older, stronger, faster, and they really crash the net. You really have to be on your toes at all times.” “It’s faster here, just like Andover was faster than my previous high school,” said Kevin Maresco ’05, now a freshman center at UMass-Amherst. “If you mess up here, you don’t get a chance to make up for it the next game, because you won’t be playing.” So what makes Schneider so good at the game he loves to play? “Cory is what we call a triple threat goalie, meaning he has a great overall game,” says Don Sweeney, an Admissions officer and part-time Hockey East color analyst. “He is sound technically and has very strong positioning in net, he’s very athletic, and he’s incredibly calm and reads the play with very good vision and thinking.” Often Schneider makes teams uncomfortable by forcing them to change their offensive style in order to beat him, making them stack up players in front of the net to look for deflections. “And I don’t know a single goalie in the world that’s comfortable with traffic in front of the net,” says Sweeney. Now BC faces #2 seed North Dakota (29-15-1) with another excellent goaltender across the ice from Schneider in the national semifinal, the Frozen Four. And by the time you read this article, BC’s fate will already be known, as the semifinal was played yesterday afternoon. If BC advances, they will meet either Wisconsin or Maine in the national championship Saturday night at 7:00pm on ESPN. Schneider, Kucharski, and Adams are three of many recent Andover graduates to move on to play college hockey in Division 1 and 3. Of the 12 alumni currently active in playing, forward Steve Rolecek ’05 has 1 goal and 3 assists in 10 games for Harvard, while Maresco has no points in 15 games for UMass-Amherst, both playing as freshmen. Jed McDonald ’04, a defenseman for Division III national champion Middlebury College, has 4 goals and 7 assists in 26 games, while forward Mike Foley ’04 has 10 goals and 10 assists in 21 games for St. Anselm. John Doherty ’03, drafted 57th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft, has sat out this season while transferring for his junior season to Quinnipiac, after a two-year career at New Hampshire, where he potted 1 goal and 2 assists in 19 games. Nick Mazzolini ’03, a freshman center this season at Providence College after spending two years playing junior hockey after graduation, has 6 goals and 8 assists in 36 games with the Friars. Peter Smith ’02 has netted 2 goals and 2 assists in 15 games playing as a junior forward for Bowdoin. Mike Mansfield ‘02, a senior goalie for Skidmore College, finished his college hockey career this year with a 4-16-2 record, 4.81 GAA, 1 shutout, and a .868 Save Percentage. Dave Breen ’01, now a junior forward for Trinity College, scored 4 goals and 1 assist in 15 games this year, after transferring from Merrimack after two years. Of his time here at Andover, Maresco reflects cheerfully on his experience saying, “Andover definitely prepared me well for college life; it was a level that was another step up in academics, hockey, dorm life, just like college is another step, and I made a lot of improvement at PA.” A number of players from the Andover hockey class of 2006 also look to take the next step toward playing hockey in college, and will be leaving a large impact and legacy on their teammates, as these previous alumni have done to their classmates and teammates. The first member of the class of 2006 to commit to a college for hockey was Hunter Thunell ’06. A defenseman from Walpole Massachusetts, Thunell commited to Brown during his upper year. After considering playing in the USHL for his senior season, Thunell decided that he wanted to finish his high school career at Andover before heading off to Brown. Following Thunell into the Ivy League next year will be his teammates Tom Dignard ’06 and Chris Cahill ’06. Dignard and Cahill both plan on attending Yale in the Fall of 2006. Dignard was recruited by both Yale and Harvard. He decided to attend Yale when former Yale coach Tim Taylor asked him in January to attend to Yale. A couple weeks later, Dignard recieved a likely letter for acceptance to Yale. Only a short period afterwards, Taylor asked Cahill to join him in New Haven. Cahill accepted and he too received a likely letter. The only damper to the future of these two friends at Yale was the firing of the Head Coach of the hockey team, Tim Taylor. Only a litte over a week ago, the coach of twenty-eight years was offered redistribution in the Athletic department by Yale’s Athletic Director. Growing up in Massachusetts, Dignard, Cahill, and Thunell all knew eachother from a young age and even played with eachother before attending Andover. All three of these players have had prolific high school hockey careers that will hopefully continue well within their college years. The most recent commitment from Andover is Joe Smith ’07 who will attend Harvard in the fall of 2007. Growing up in suburb of Boston, Joe has seen Harvard play his entire life and dreamed of one day playing for them himself. This dream came true when over break he commited to the Crimson.