This season the Miami Brotherhood welcomes 13 new
faces to the program, including 11 freshmen. With so many new players on the
roster, the "In the Crease" semimonthly interview series aims to
introduce the newcomers to the fans. The third installment of the series is
with freshman netminder Jay Williams.
Williams, a McLean, Va. native, has started the
last seven games for the RedHawks, including last Saturday when he earned his
first career shutout against the Michigan State Spartans. Williams' effort
earned him the CCHA Rookie of the Week award. The freshman standout currently has
been a work horse for the Red and White, starting nine games in net while
playing in 10, posting a record of 6-2-2 while amassing an impressive 2.18 GAA
and a .915 save percentage in over 600 minutes of action.
Prior to joining the Brotherhood, Williams played
for the Waterloo Black Hawks and the Sioux Fall Stampede of the USHL. Williams
also suited up with teammate Sean Kuraly as they guided Team USA to a silver
medal finish at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Interview by Chris Rydburg, athletic
Rydburg: You are off to a pretty hot start to the year.
You were named the CCHA Rookie of the Week and earned your first shutout of the
year last Saturday, where has your success come from?
Jay Williams: Obviously it is exciting to get that first
shutout you know. I gotta give credit to the team in front of me as Michigan
State only managed 13 shots on goal. Right now I am just trying to take it one
game at a time and just worry about the next save. I want to do everything I
can to be consistent and help our team win night in and night out.
CR: Goaltenders are often times cited as being quirky beings. Do you have any strange pregame rituals or
JW: I'd like to think I am not that weird (laugh). I don't think I do
anything too out of the ordinary. I have my routine that I like to go through
when I get to the rink. When I get here I warm up with my tennis balls and
after that I tape my sticks. I'll go through some visualization on the bench.
After that the team does our stretches and then we get dressed. I guess that's
nothing too crazy.
CR: So you don't have any abnormal habits like a certain drink you have
to have at the beginning of the game or anything?
JW: Well, I guess it's seven layers on my stick.
JW: I count the layers of tape on my stick when I tape it up. I count
that. I don't need a certain drink or anything.
CR: Seven layers of tape seems like a lot. It didn't really help you
today as you broke a stick during practice.
JW: Yeah, no it didn't. It was just broken. I guess I have to tape up a
CR: How many sticks do you usually go through a year?
JW: Generally it is about one a week. I try to have four sticks a week
usually. Two are for games and two are for practice. I kind of use one until
it's broken through all the way. The one today had two or three big cracks in
CR: I suppose that happens a lot when you are facing shots.
JW: Yeah, that is kind of the nature of the beast there.
CR: You guys have already had some experience on the road this year. Who
is your roommate and what is that experience like?
JW: I stay with Jimmy Mullin on the road.
CR: Oh man that must be a talkative room.
JW: Oh yeah, there is absolutely no talking in our room (laughing). We
have a good time. It's all fun traveling with the guys. Some of the best
memories have been spending time together on the bus. You would be surprised
about the conversations that come up, maybe even the movies we watch. It's just
nice to let loose and hang out with the guys.
CR: You guys have a big road trip coming up to Alaska. Is the team
excited about that? Have you ever been up there?
JW: Yeah, we are. Personally, I have never been, but I think the guys
are excited. We are a little worried about how cold it is going to be there and
what not but I think they are excited. Alaska has been playing pretty well
lately so we are excited for that challenge after the break.
CR: You guys have been playing pretty well lately yourselves. Is it a
bittersweet break as you currently have a lot of momentum?
JW: Obviously when you are playing well you just want to keep going and
playing and keep things rolling. On the other hand, you have guys who are
banged up a little and injured, nothing serious, but I think a little bit of
time off will be good. We are going to come back refreshed and ready to get
back at it.
CR: You grew up in Virginia, a place that a lot of people consider a
non-traditional hockey market. How did you get your start in hockey?
JW: I want to say I was eight years old. It was my friend's eighth
birthday and he went to a Washington Capitals game and I went with him and ever
since then I guess I'd fallen in love. The Capitals blew the other team out
like 6-2. The next day I found a pair of old roller blades and crushed up a
coke can and hit it around the garage. It's been history ever since then.
CR: What was the interview process like coming here and trying out? Was it a fun process or stressful one?
JW: Looking back I would say it is a fun process. I had my first visit
here during the summer when I was 16. I got to sit across from Coach Blasi and
I saw all the banners hanging up so it was a bit intimidating at first. I was a
bit shy, you know, but looking back it's pretty neat to have gone through it.
CR: Looking back and I guess forwards as well, are you surprised at all
about this young team's start to the season and where do you see you guys
JW: You know, no. Actually, I didn't really know what to expect as college
hockey was always on this pedestal for me. The coaches all had faith in us and
they did a great job in the preseason getting us ready to play. Once you get
those first couple of games under your belt you feel adjusted. After that it's
just the next game, and the next game, and the next game, and try to keep
CR: Thanks Jay, have a good break.
JW: Thanks, you too.
Fans can engage in the series as well by
submitting questions for any of the newcomers to Chris Rydburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will then work them into his interview with that player in an
installment of In the Crease.
Previous editions of In the Crease with...
Oct. 23: Riley Barber - Interview
Nov. 6: Matthew Caito - Interview