By Matt Noonan
After a rocky start, the Northeastern University Men’s ice hockey team, as well as goaltender Chris Rawlings rebounded quite well last season, but didn’t finish with the ultimate goal – a national championship.
Yet, while it’s been quite sometime since the Huskies have acquired some hardware, Rawlings stated that he’s not only optimistic and excited, but also believes the Huskies will certainly surprise many college hockey fans this season.
Here’s our conversation with the Huskies goaltender.
What are three goals or objectives you have for the upcoming season?
“I want to be the number one goalie in our conference and at least [in] the top-five goalies in the entire country for everything. I know it might seem a little [unrealistic], but to me, I think you have to have something to shoot for and I think I have every right to be there. [Also], I just want build off of last season. I want to keep moving forward and keep moving up [because] I feel like I have been and [I want to] get myself prepared for the next level.”
How did you and your teammates bounce back after a slow start last season and also, how do you hope to build off it?
“Honestly, we didn’t really change anything. We knew we had a rough start, [but] we just kept working hard [and] we didn’t really change much. We kept doing what we were doing [and] kept working hard. Eventually, a lot started changing, which was what we were hoping for [and] we had a nice little run at the end of the year, which [was] great. We’re going to feed off of that for the start of this year because we want to make sure we start off better than last year and the year before.”
The Northeastern Huskies are ranked eighth in the Hockey East pre-season coaches poll, so would you consider that motivation for you, as well as your teammates?
“To be perfectly honest, those preseason polls don’t really mean too much to me. It’s a matter of what happens during the year, but ranked eight out of ten [teams], it’s kind of a [motivation] for me [and] I am sure for the rest of the guys too. It’s kind of fueling our fire – it’ll motivate us definitely. Being ranked eighth, we have nothing to lose. There’s no added pressure of being ranked first, second or whatever. [We’ll] just go out there and we have nothing to lose. I guess you could consider us being an underdog, but we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year, [but] like I said, that doesn’t mean too much us, but I guess you could say, we’re definitely using it for [motivation].”
You have three new coaches this year, how much have they made an impact on you, as well as your teammates?
“All three of them – they’re great. It’s a little different seeing those three guys compared to seeing [Greg Cronin, Sebastien Laplante and Albi O’Connell], but they’re great guys. Coach Jim Madigan is a great coach [and he and his staff has] so much information. All three of them, they’re [trying] to teach us and teach the players. I think they’re great guys. I’ve asked some of the players because obviously they’ve worked with them more than I work with the coaches, so I guess we’ll have to see how well we do once the season starts, but for right now, I love working with them. They’re great coaches and they’re full of information. They’re willing to teach us and I can’t really complain.”
Any new news on your future post-college hockey plans? Any offers from the NHL?
“Since my freshman year, I’ve had opportunities that were there, but I’m not going to deal with that [until the end of the season]. I have talked with Coach Madigan about it and we’re going to discuss it. We’ve discussed it at the start of the season, we’re going to talk about it at Christmas and then we’re not going to bring it up until the end of the season because obviously, I want to focus on the year and having a good season, but there’s definitely interest and I’m not really going to talk about it until the time comes.”