Thayer Academy senior goaltender Bob McGovern has made a name for himself as one of the top netminders in New England the last couple seasons and, as a result, has drawn the interest of NHL scouts.
The imposing 6-foot-4, 245-pounder is an imposing figure in the crease and was ranked 25th among North American netminders in the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm report. McGovern is a self-described “battler,” who plays an aggressive style, which might have stemmed from his experience as a lineman on Thayer’s football team.
While he gave up the gridiron this year to focus on hockey, playing the Cape Cod Whalers’ U-18 squad in the offseason, McGovern’s mentality transfers to the rink, as we learned when we caught up with him after a recent game at the Canton Sportsplex.
The Tigers earned the No. 3 seed in the NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament and open with a quarter-final matchup today with No. 6 Berkshire, so we asked McGovern about the team’s pulse heading into the postseason in this Q-and-A:
Q: Do you feel any pressure to perform after being ranked in the Central Scouting Midterm report?
A: “It’s definitely a little bit stressful, but you go into any game looking to win, that’s all you’re looking to do. But I just come to the rink every day to try to prove to people that I belong on that list.”
Q: What are the expectations for this team this year entering the playoffs?
A: “Last year, we had a magical run at the end. We really weren’t expecting to go .500 last year and we ended up in Salem. This year, we definitely had bigger expectations and we’ve done pretty good so far.”
Q: You also have football in your athletics background. How does that experience relate to playing goaltender?
A: “It teaches you to battle. Every shot is a one-on-one battle. In football, I was a lineman, so every snap is that one-on-one battle with the guy across from you. On the ice, every shot that comes at you is a one-on-one battle.”
Q: Which NHL netminder would you most associate you style with?
A: “I’ve always been a fan of Marc-Andre Fleury [points to the Pittsburgh Penguins t-shirt he’s wearing]. He’s always been one my favorites, but recently I’ve really enjoyed watching Mike Smith. I like the way he battles, the way he gets into the game.”
Q: What do you guys to hang out outside the rink?
A: “We don’t have a rink on campus, so the car rides from school to the rink are always fun. A lot of us are in the same classes, the same free periods, so we’re together a lot.”
Q: What is the most important thing your team can do to be successful in the tournament?
A: “We just have to outwork people. We have a great system, as we’ve shown the last two years, but it all comes down to outworking the guy across from you. This year we have a good mixture of skill and work ethic, so I think we’ll be ready to make the jump."