Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Northeastern Goaltender Brad Thiessen

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 16 at 2:00 ET, Northeastern goaltender Brad Thiessen enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Huskies face Hockey East opponent UMass on Friday before taking on Harvard on Monday in the semifinals of the Beanpot.

Brad Thiessen

As Northeastern has made a dramatic surge forward in Hockey East and on the national scene this season, it's all started in net with Brad Thiessen.

The sophomore from Aldergrove, B.C., is 11-7-3 this season with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage, and was a key to the Huskies' hot start, named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month for the month of November after going 6-1-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. As a freshman, Thiessen was a unanimous choice to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and was runner-up for Rookie of the Year after setting a Northeastern single-season record with a .921 save percentage, a performance that also made him the Huskies' MVP.

Thiessen is a journalism major at Northeastern. He played his junior hockey with the Merritt Centennials and Prince George Spruce Kings.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Brad won't be stopping by until 1:00 EST on Tuesday, January 29th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Good afternoon, and welcome to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We have two great chats today, so let's get started. We're joined now by Northeastern goaltender Brad Thiessen.
Brad Thiessen: It's a pleasure to be on. I'm looking forward to hearing questions from fans of college hockey.

Phil (Boston): How has the transition been from last year, where there were 10 seniors on the team, to this season, where there is only one, and how has this changed your role as a team leader? Good luck this weekend and for the rest of the season!
Brad Thiessen: I think our team is a little different than most because of the one senior, but I think last year a lot of the freshmen and sophomores were given a lot of opportunities that some teams wouldn't have given them. I think having that experience from last year has given us insight into what goes on in college hockey, and has helped us grow quicker and made us leaders a little earlier than most teams would have us be.

Matt (Boston, MA): Hey Brad, I want to congratulate all you guys on the awesome season so far and was wondering what mainly has been causing trouble lately. I noticed how Cronin had changed almost all of the lines last weekend and what you guys need to do to get out of this current funk.
Brad Thiessen: I think it's part of any season. You're going to have your ups and downs. Not every season's going to go perfectly. We knew our winning streak would end sometime, but we're a young team, and maybe we didn't know how to handle winning at some point. Now that teams know who we are and what we're capable of, they're ready every time they come in to play us. It's going to make us better, because we know we have to be ready every time. As you can see in this league, anyone can beat anyone at any time.

Drew Adamek (Boston): Brad, how do you keep yourself focused on Friday night's game and not look ahead to the Beanpot?
Brad Thiessen: It's obviously pretty difficult. The Beanpot is such a big deal around here that everyone kind of looks toward Monday. UMass is a great team, and all the games we had with them last year were really tight, and good hockey games. It's two points in the standings that we need to have right now, so going into Friday night, we need to have all our energy focused on that, and then what happens Monday, we'll worry about afterward.

Waltham: How has NU's defensive scheme been changed in recent weeks? The team seems to be giving up more shots and grade A opportunities
Brad Thiessen: I don't think it's us changing anything. I think we maybe haven't focused us much on the defensive end as in the past, so I think it's something we need to get back to and put our focus on. What fuels our success as a team is defense, which leads to our generating offensive chances. Coach Cronin puts a lot of emphasis on our defensive play. If we can take care of our end, I think the other end will take care of itself throughout the course of the game.

Mike (NYC): Whats the biggest difference between this years team and last years
Brad Thiessen: Last year, we were losing a lot of games that came down to the wire. We couldn't get that big goal when we needed it. This year, we've been able to score more timely goals that we need.

Lalit: Hi Brad, Congratulations on all the recent success both individually and for the team. Do you have any special pre-game rituals in preparing for games? Good luck the rest of the way! Lalit Joshi NU Class of 1999
Brad Thiessen: Before a typical Friday game, I have a couple of classes. I like to keep myself busy, and not dwell on the game that night. Sometimes, taking your mind off the game is what works best. In the afternoon, I'll eat a pre-game meal around 1 and take a nap, then head to the rink a couple of hours before the game, tape up sticks, warm up, and stretch out, little things like that. I try and stay in the same routine so your body gets used to it.

Chris (Allston): At what point do you stop being surprised by the team's success?
Brad Thiessen: I don't think we're surprised by it. As a team, we know we're what capable of. All of the guys in the room believe in each other and what we can do. I think we're at a point as a team where we go out not hoping to win, as it may have been a couple of years ago, but more expecting to win.

Jeff (Boston): Northeastern is currently being outscored by their opponents 61-60 but still maintain a winning record. As a goal tender what do you think the offense needs to do in particular to score more goals?
Brad Thiessen: I think those numbers might be a little inflated. I think there's a couple of games where I didn't have my best game, and there were some lopsided scores. For the most part, the offense has been there on most nights. Getting to the net is what Coach Cronin preaches to us and getting opportunities off of second chances.

Nick (Lexington): What do you think you've learned about the Beanpot from your experience there last year?
Brad Thiessen: I think just having one year under your belt is big. Going into last year, being from the West Coast and not knowing what to expect, the coverage that it does get here in Boston, it was an eye-opening experience for someone who's not from the East Coast and doesn't know about it: little things like getting a police escort and all the media coverage. Knowing what to expect this year will only help when I'm getting ready for the game.

Brian (Hartford, CT): Not to look past Hartford, but who would you rather play in the beanpot final if you get there, BU or BC?
Brad Thiessen: I think we'd be happy to get in the final. Harvard's a great hockey team, and beating them would be an accomplishment, so just getting to the final and being able to play one of those big rivals we have, it wouldn't matter to me. I'd just be happy to play in that game.

Brad (grand forks): do you feel like you get more attention than you deserve being your schedule is such a joke compared to teams in the west?
Brad Thiessen: Hockey East is generally regarded as a pretty tough league, and I think any team can beat anybody on any night. We played North Dakota, and they were a great team. We were out at Wisconsin, saw Wisconsin, and I thought they were pretty good as well. I think any team in college hockey is going to be tough to beat on any night.

Joe (Boston): Hey Brad, congrats on a good year thus far, im wondering that with all the line-up changes that go on every game, is it tough to play with differant D-men every game?
Brad Thiessen: No. I think any defenseman that we put in, I have no problems playing behind. They're all steady, and they work hard every night. We have eight defensemen and it's a real battle every week to get in the lineup, so they're always ready to play, and it's a pleasure to play behind them.

Scott (Aldergrove): Growing up with two brothers, which brother could more easily score on you?
Brad Thiessen: I don't believe either of them has ever scored on me.

Steve (Boston): Brad, Do you have a goalie coach at NU and do you have one back home in BC you work with in the summer?
Brad Thiessen: There's one that I work with back at home - I've been working with him for three or four years now - and one here at Northeastern who's helped a lot as well. Also, Coach Cronin has brought in a goalie coach who was with him when he was with the Islanders. He brought him in for a week earlier this year, and I've been up to see him as well in Toronto.

Scott (Aldergrove): I`m finding this hard to believe. Which brother had more talent?
Brad Thiessen: Well, I did set you up for all those empty net goals...

Mike (Boston): Brad, what's it like playing in the oldest hockey barn in the world and playing in front of some of the greatest fans?
Brad Thiessen: It's a great atmosphere. Anytime you go into that rink for a game, it's a lot of fun, with all the fans right on top of you, especially all the students we've been getting lately. It's a great atmosphere. It's not hard to get up for a home game, that's for sure.

JB (Boston): Finish the sentence. The best part of playing for Northeastern is ________.
Brad Thiessen: Being a part of the rich hockey atmosphere here in Boston and playing in one of the best atmospheres that there is in college hockey.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all we have with Brad this afternoon.
Brad Thiessen: Thanks to all the people who took time to submit questions. Thanks for all the support, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the rink.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for the first of our Tuesday @ the Rink chats on CSTV.com this afternoon, presented by CSTV and USCHO. We'll be back at the top of the hour with North Dakota defenseman Taylor Chorney.