USA Defenseman Andrew Hildreth has been a big part of the USA Men’s team 3-0 record. Through 3 games he has 1 goal and 4 assists and also the trigger man for the high powered USA power play which has tallied 5 goals thus far. ASHI had the opportunity to talk with him after the thrilling 2-1 win over Portugal.
Your team’s ability to come back late in games is such an asset during these World Championships, how do you keep the emotions in check and stick to the game plan for 45 minutes?
It starts with our ability to realize we have more time than we are used to. Composure is a huge characteristic our team has; that is where our emotions are kept under check. We have faith in one another; we see the guy next to us working hard and we match it. That’s how we overcome adversity.
With only one Pool A game left do you start to watch the teams competing in Pool A/Group 2? Do you or the any of the coaching staff scout the potential opponents in the knockout round?
We play Finland tomorrow. After the game I saw them play against Slovakia, we are in for a tough one. Their short bench (10 forwards, 6 defensemen) isn’t a factor because of their lights-out goalie (Tommi Kuru). If we come out with a win, we have the potential to play Switzerland/Italy. But there are a few days left so upsets/losses are always a possibility.
How has your experience been so far in Zug? I know hockey comes first but it looks like a great atmosphere over there day and night?
It’s unreal. I’m back in my second hometown so it’s like a big welcome home party. Swiss had 6,500 in attendance for their game last night, find me a better atmosphere, you can’t. Also, they will broadcast the first ever Swiss ball hockey game on national TV Wednesday night. Not too shabby.
It’s too bad I’m playing because the concerts are unreal in the player’s village. Yeah, the Player’s village has hosted a few 5k+ in attendance concerts over the last 3 days (we have 6 more to go). I’d have to say the precedent has been set for any hockey tournament I ever play in again, let alone world championships.
Power plays have been the turning point in both the Slovakia and Portugal game, was this a focus point at the training camp? With the amount of fire power out there at times it must be fun to QB the PP’s?
It’s always fun to quarterback the power play. It really is fun out there with the talent we have. Luckily, Denny (Schlegel) and Jonny (Ruiz) have taken the brunt of the responsibility of scoring goals in that department. We didn’t really focus on power play because of our firepower and skill; we were more worried about letting up penalty kill goals than anything because we know our 5v5 game is pretty special.