Almeida Excels In Senior Season As Alternate Captain
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 20:01
"I don't know if I've changed anything, but I think it just comes with maturity and a different role," he said of his offensive production. "My sophomore year, I was a little more defensive, and I had to buy in to make the team successful. This year, I'm kind of being depended on more to have the opportunity to score goals and be placed with guys."
With the Beanpot coming up, Almeida's focus and maturity, as well as his continued offensive production, will be necessary for the Eagles. This stretch of Hockey East play will be a major momentum factor as the team attempts to win a national championship. The senior is confident that the team can maintain its composure in the tournament.
"They all know what it's all about," he said of the newer players. "You just try to tell them to enjoy the moment while they're there. It's an unbelievable experience. If you just play your game and treat it as another game, I know it's difficult. You're at the high. You're at the Garden, and it's sold out. So, it's tough to, but you just have to focus on the game, play, and don't get away from our game plan. Really just have fun with it."
Despite all of his success, Almeida is truly a grounded, passionate fan of the game. He talked excitedly about his hometown Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, and, although he has become accustomed to playing in the spotlight with some of the game's top talents, his respect for the team's accomplishments and opponents is very obvious.
"Every week, especially in the Hockey East, it's so hard to win games," he said. "Every team is good, every game is so precious for the two points. Sometimes you might take it for granted and let those two points slip away towards the final stretch of the season. Those two points can mean so much. When you look at the league now, I think it's like five or six points that separates first or second from six. Every team has good players, and it's awesome to have a new challenge each week."
This sense of respect also becomes evident when asking the senior about his time on the Heights. He says that his favorite moment undoubtedly came during his sophomore year, when the team won the national championship.
"It was just unbelievable," he said. "Your team works so hard, and it's such a long season. To win that is just something special. It's hard to even describe."
The biggest question for Almeida this spring will be like that of most college seniors: what will the real world hold for me? While he has career ambitions beyond BC, Almeida remains concentrated on accomplishing what he was able to do his sophomore year.
"Obviously, my hope is to play professional hockey somewhere," he said. "It's been my dream since I was a little kid. I just want to keep continuing to play hockey. That's why you come here, to gain the experience.
"For the short term, I really don't want this to end. I know it has to end eventually. And when you end it, you want to go out a winner. So, the short term for me is to go out a winner at BC."
At this point, Almeida does not know where he'll be playing after the season, but his focus remains on the task at hand. Especially in the upcoming weeks when the Eagles participate in the annual Beanpot tournament at TD Garden, the alternate captain will be leaned upon as a source of veteran leadership and focus.
"Obviously, winning the national championship my sophomore year is something that I will remember for the rest of my life, and hopefully we can get another one this year."