Former Warrior Carl Sneep will get his first chance to play in Minnesota as a BC Eagle.
For now, Carl Sneep is battling the stereotype his teammates have of his home state.
On Friday, Sneep and the Boston College Eagles men's hockey team will battle Michigan at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in the season-opening Ice Breaker Invitational.
Boston College faces Michigan at 4:30 p.m. The University of Minnesota faces Rensselear in the second game.
In high school, Sneep helped the Brainerd Warriors win the Schwan's Holiday Cup at the Xcel. It was the only time the sophomore played at the home of the Minnesota Wild.
"I'm pretty excited to be playing in the home state again," Sneep said by phone Wednesday. "It will be good to be back home and easy for my family and friends to get to one of my games."
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound defenseman is coming off a freshman campaign in which he played 38 games and finished with 10 points - one short-handed goal and nine assists. He finished with a plus-14 rating.
The Eagles return four of their top six scorers from last season. Nathan Gerbe (47 points), Benn Ferriero (46 points) and Brock Bradford (45 points) return, helping to make BC the top-ranked team, according to Let's Play Hockey men's college hockey rankings.
Fifteen other letterwinners return, including Sneep, who said he's hoping to increase his role this season.
"In the offseason I concentrated a lot on my overall defensive play and worked on my shot a lot," said Sneep. "I just want to improve on my season from last year and get better. I would like to get more ice time and be out there in more situations to help contribute to the team winning."
The Eagles expect to win this season. They hope to win one more game than last year, that being the final game of the season. Last year BC was upset by Michigan State in the NCAA national championship game.
"Last year was a great experience," Sneep said. "It was the most fun playing hockey I've ever had in my life. It was disappointing to lose the national championship game, obviously, but it was a great experience. I learned a lot from last year and it was very enjoyable."
Sneep learned quickly the level of dedication is different in the college ranks. He said it's not just showing up to practice, but putting in extra workouts, weightlifting sessions and cardio work.
It's part of the BC culture where excellence on the ice is expected.
"We expect to be just as good this year as last year's team and make it back to the national championship game," Sneep said.
Sneep will be able to spend Christmas at home this year as Boston College will play in the Dodge Holiday Classic Dec. 29-30 at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota The Eagles play Air Force in the opening round.
"That will be a lot o fun to be back in Minnesota again this year," said Sneep. "Hopefully we can do well in both tournaments."
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.
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