Notre Dame hockey: Schneider feeling more at home
SOUTH BEND -- Count multitasking among Peter Schneider’s many talents. It’s an ability that has worked for him in the classroom, and also led to increased ice time of late for the Notre Dame hockey team.
Away from hockey, Schneider carries a 3.9 GPA as a double major in business and economics, with a minor in mathematics. The junior right winger from Vienna, Austria also speaks four languages — German, Slovak, Czech, and his admittedly worst language, English.
“School has always kind of come easy to me,” Schneider said Wednesday after practice. “I think I’m a hard worker. I prepare well and don’t really take times off during the year, and I think that pays off in the long run in all areas.”
That hard work is showing up on the ice as well, where Schneider has developed into an important penalty killer for the 14th-ranked Irish. He was also recently moved up to ND’s third scoring line, which also features the team’s top goal scorer, Mario Lucia (13 goals) and center Vince Hinostroza, who is tied with Lucia for second on the team with 22 points.
After recording a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over No. 11 Northeastern, Schneider has already tied his career high with five goals, and set a new career high with 10 points, with nine regular season games still to play. And he may have found a home on that line, where his speed and energy fit right in with Lucia’s goal-scoring touch and Hinostroza’s playmaking ability.
“I definitely try to bring a lot of energy, get the bench going,” Schneider said. “Try to finish my hits, even though I am from Europe.”
Schneider played junior hockey in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where he graduated from high school in 2009 before moving to the U.S. and trying out for the Indiana Ice of the USHL. It wasn’t long before Schneider caught the eye of Notre Dame assistant coach and lead recruiter Andy Slaggert.
Since coming to the U.S., he’s had to work to alter his game to more of a North American style, where hitting and finishing checks is more valued than back home in Europe.
“That was one of the biggest things I’ve had to work on here,” Schneider said. “I’ve never been taught to finish my hits or hit a lot, so I definitely had to learn that and grow into that.”
But his European experience, where the ice surfaces are much larger than a typical college hockey sheet, will come in handy this weekend when Notre Dame travels to New Hampshire’s spacious Whittemore Center for two important Hockey East road games.
“Our Olympic practice rink here (at Compton Family Ice Arena) isn’t nearly as big as their rink is,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. “It’s an ocean out there. Getting acclimated to that rink is going to be important.”
For Schneider, playing on the larger surface will be a bit like going home.
“I definitely look forward to it, I feel really good out there,” Schneider said. “It’s more of an offensive rink type. I think it’s easier for forwards to play on that rink.”
Defenseman Stephen Johns, a big hitter who prefers closer quarters in which to operate, concurs with that sentiment.
“I’m definitely not an advocate of the Olympic sheet,” Johns said. “Definitely makes my job tougher, especially when you go up against smaller forwards. Being a bigger guy, you definitely have to play inside the dots and really be aware of where everyone is on the ice.
“I don’t think there’s going to be too many big hits this weekend, which is unfortunate.”
Notre Dame could have left wing Thomas DiPauli back after the sophomore missed the last four games with an upper body injury.
DiPauli could fit into the fourth line, or take Jeff Costello’s spot alongside David Gerths and Mike Voran, but Jackson has options and will likely explore them at UNH.
Former Irish hockey player and current Assistant Programming and Instruction Manager at the Compton Family Ice Arena, Kevin Deeth, has begun posting a monthly memo series on the und.com website to discuss current hot topics relating to hockey and winter sports in general. His first post, “Skate First, Hockey Second”, touches on the importance of learning to skate as the first step to becoming a hockey player.
Deeth, originally from Gig Harbor, Wash. but now a full time South Bend resident, is Notre Dame’s career leader in games played (164), helped win the program’s first two CCHA championships and first ever Frozen Four bid in 2008. He had 35 goals and 79 assists for 114 career points.
WHO: No. 14 Notre Dame (15-9-1, 4-6-1 Hockey East) and New Hampshire (14-13-1, 6-6-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7:35; Saturday, 4:05
WHERE: Whittemore Center, Durham, NH
TV: Fox College Sports East (Friday), NESN (Saturday)
RADIO: WHFB (99.9 FM)
TWITTER: @NDHockeySBT; @NDHockey