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Sophomore Bill Arnold has been a key contributor to Boston College's success not only on the offensive side, but on the defensive side as well. In February, he became the hero of the Beanpot Championship after scoring the game-winner in overtime to defeat nemesis Boston University 3-2.
Hockey's Future spoke with Arnold after practice on Wednesday at the Tampa Times Forum.
Hockey's Future: How does it feel playing in your first Frozen Four?
Bill Arnold: It definitely feels great. You work hard all season to get here and I think it's just kind of a testament to the coaches and the other guys on the team.
HF: You played really well in the World Junior Championship earlier this year. Can you talk about what the experience was like for you personally and what lesson(s) did learn from being there that you've been able to bring back to Boston College with you?
BA: Well first off, it was an honor to be able to represent the United States there and I was able to play in front a big crowd there in Canada. It's kind of high intensity playing in it and I think the one thing I learned from the experience was how to play in high-pressure situations. It's something that I'll probably lean on this weekend playing in front of such a big crowd in a big game here in Tampa. So I think I feel more comfortable now playing in these types of big games that I've ever felt before.
HF: For the readers who may not be familiar with you, can you talk about the role that you play with Boston College and the things that you have contributed to help get the team to where they are today?
BA: I consider myself a two-way center. I care just as much about my defense as I do my offense. And I try to bring those things to the team night in and night out, whether it's chipping in a goal here and there or trying to shut down the other team's top line. I love playing on the PK and blocking shots too. I think that's something that I've been able to bring to my team.
HF: What area(s) do you feel that you've improved the most in and what area(s) do you feel that you're are continually trying to improve?
BA: I think compared to last year I've been contributing more offensively this year in terms of scoring goals. I've been trying to be consistent on that basis and I think I've been able to do that this year. I'm continuing to take strides doing that too. I think I'm also continuing to work on my skating too. I'm trying to get quicker on my first three steps, so that it can enhance my game.
HF: In working on your skating, do you plan to take any skating lessons or work with a skating coach this off-season?
BA: I've talked to Coach Brown (Boston College assistant coach) about it because he gives guys pointers on things to work on and some drills to do in practice and in pre-game skates. I've talked to him about work with me on improving my stride and just getting back to the basics.
HF: Did you attend the Calgary Flames' prospects camp last summer? And if so, what did you learn from it that you've been able to bring to Boston College this season?
BA: I did go and I feel blessed to have been there. It was great being out to meet the guys (prospects) and the staff. It wasn't a real high-intensity thing. They made it fun. We worked on skating in the morning and work with the coaches on other things later in the day. The coaches would create these routines for us that we're able to take back to our (current) teams. But I think the one thing that I was able to bring back to Boston College with me was learning how to be a better skater. They made sure that we did power skating sessions about an hour or two every day. They'd teach you different techniques and some of the little things that you need to be aware of and do during pre-game practices and skates.
HF: Being a prospect of the Calgary Flames is sort of a unique situation for you because one of your current teammates in John Gaudreau is also a Flames prospect too. So how is it for you knowing that one of your current Boston College teammates could one day be one of your teammates in Calgary as well?
BA: It's fun to think about I don't want to get too ahead of myself. Johnny is a tremendous player. Coming in as a freshman and having the kind of year that he's having is unbelievable. It seems like every night he's coming up huge for our team. I don't think we would be here at the Frozen Four without his production. Maybe sometime down the road, we'll be able to work together in Calgary too.
HF: Has Calgary been keeping tabs on you throughout the season?
BA: Yes. We talk every now and then. They just check to make sure that everything is going well and will ask for updates on how my season is going, and things like that. They're not there always in my face or anything, but they are interested in how I'm doing. So it's a really good relationship.
HF: Do you plan to attend their prospects camp this summer?
BA: Yes, I am and I'm looking forward to it.