Face-Off Classic coaches compare their defensemen to those of the past

Coaches from Cornell, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Princeton and Virginia tap memory banks

March 08, 2012|By Edward Lee

Friday’s edition of The Sun will include an article on the top defenseman for five of the six teams participating in Saturday’sFace-Off Classicat M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Four of the five aforementioned have been named All Americans and one was arguably compiling an equally worthy season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last year.

While collecting information for the article, I asked each coach to compare his defenseman to a former player he had coached. Here are their thoughts.

Junior Tucker Durkin via Johns Hopkins’ Dave Pietramala: “Tuck’s style is very, very different. I think he plays ugly, and to be honest with you, that’s Tuck. Tuck doesn’t care what he looks like, doesn’t care if you think it looks pretty. All he cares about is the end result and getting the job done. He’s a work-oriented guy and a results-oriented guy. He’s a very prepared guy.”

Redshirt senior Matt Lovejoy via Virginia’s Dom Starsia: “Physically, kind of like a Ryan Curtis [the national Defenseman of the Year in 1999]. He might not be quite as explosive an athlete as Ryan was, but he’s kind of that stocky, lefty with a good stick, a good sense of the game. He reminds me of Ryan as much as anybody else.”

Senior Charlie McComas via North Carolina’s Joe Breschi: “It’s funny, but he reminds me of Scott Matthews, whom I coached at Ohio State. Both are from Boys’ Latin, and they’re just a steady force down there. He doesn’t really get beat. He’s a position guy, a groundball guy. He’s great in the clearing game, all facets really.”

Junior Jason Noble via Cornell’s Ben DeLuca: “I would say from a mentality standpoint, he reminds me a lot of George Boiardi with his speed, his tenacity and his competitive drive. But I think he’s just a different package. I think he’s learned quite a bit from the other guys that he’s played with and picked some stuff up. He’s obviously been taught by one of the best in [former Georgetown standout and current The Hill Academy coach] Brodie Merrill.”

Senior Chad Wiedmaier via Princeton’s Chris Bates: “He’s probably a little bit like Christian Cook  [the national Defenseman of the Year in 1998]. Adam Crystal, who I had at Drexel and was an All American [in 2007, the school’s first in 29 years] and a World Team alternate, also plays very similar. They’re not pushing you out all over the field, but anywhere goal line-extended, they’re engaging, and Chad’s greatest strength is how he plays around the goal line. He’s got great leverage, good positioning, and that’s a tough place to be very good because of the dangerous spot on the field. But he’s one of the best ones there clearly.”

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