Athlete of the Week Q & A: Christian Hilbrich
Each Tuesday, BRSN sits down for a Q & A session with the BRSN Athlete of the Week. This week, we caught up with our sixth Athlete of the Week Junior Big Red Men’s Ice Hockey forward Christian Hilbrich following his strong performance leading the Big Red to a 4 point weekend over Yale and Brown.
BRSN: Christian thanks for taking the time out to speak with us. You had the game winning shot on Friday against Yale and followed that up with your second goal of the season on Saturday against Brown. What was working for you this weekend and how did it feel to be a key contributor in both wins this weekend?
CH: What worked Friday night was just taking what was given. The game was a lot of give and take. On the game winner my line-mate Cole Bardreau made a great play winning the puck battle and dishing a tape to tape pass to me high in the slot. I was able to get my eyes up and size up the goalie a split second before I released the puck but mainly the release was muscle memory. Goalies in this league don’t give up much but low blocker is often a high percentage shot for lefties. The puck was just out of the reach of Yale’s goalie. Saturday Night my line of Bardreau and Jake Weidner fed off the energy of the bench to continue the success we had at the end of the Yale game. We were on the same page Saturday and were able to create a ton of scoring chances with the extra time we allotted for each other with the quick puck movement.
BRSN: As a team it had been a bit of a slow start for you guys and it seemed like their was a sense of urgency going into this weekend. Can you talk a little bit about the approach the team was taking going into these games and how you guys were able to execute?
CH: This week we paid extra attention to detail. Nothing went unnoticed, we had the coaches and the players keep each other accountable with all mental errors. Not much else changed.
BRSN: First 4 point weekend of the season for the team as well as the first shutout with the 4-0 victory against Brown. What did this weekend mean for you personally and for this team moving forward?
CH: This weekend was a big step in the direction we want to go, but we’re hungry for more. Cornell Hockey wasn’t built on two wins, it was built on about twenty (a season). We dug ourselves a hole to start and we’re taking the dirt off one shovel full at a time.
BRSN: There’s no question that this team has a great core of talent all around and I think we are really starting to see that in a lot of ways. What are some of the things, if any that you and the team are trying to improve as we start to approach the middle of the season?
CH: We know we are a talented team, but we’re not the most talented team in our league so we stick to our strengths that make us successful. Protecting the puck and making high percentage plays with the puck. We have skilled goal scorers and we’re continuing to work on our finish in practice to take some pressure off the defense and goalies.
BRSN: As the season progresses what are some of your personal goals for the rest of this season?
CH: As an individual I’m working towards putting the same consistent effort every night. The statistics will take care of themselves when the consistency is there.
BRSN: Now that you are into your third season at Cornell, what are some of the things you’ve enjoyed most about being a Big Red student athlete?
CH: My favorite experience as a student athlete is the start of the third period chant. I love watching the opposing players faces when the chant starts. They’re all tapping and pointing at the student section. You know you’re playing in a special place when that is happening.
BRSN: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you that you’d like to share with fans of Cornell and more specifically Big Red Hockey?
CH: It’s been rumored that at home games certain Cornell hockey players that aren’t in the lineup will change into street clothes and will hop in the student section to join in the chants.
BRSN: Thanks again Christian!
CH: Thanks Alex