Winger Sweatt doing all the small things for CC
November 04, 2009 4:34 PM JOE PAISLEY
THE GAZETTE Bill Sweatt
has been doing all the little things on and off the ice — that don't show up in the stats — the Tigers
have needed in their 4-1-1 start.
Fortunately, for Colorado College (3-0-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association
), he's also producing. The hard-working senior is tied for fourth in points in the WCHA with 10 (seven assists).
Others in the WCHA have more points — including three on this weekend's foe, Minnesota-Duluth — but it's hard to say if anyone has had as big an impact as Sweatt, a second-round (No. 38) pick of the Blackhawks in the 2007 entry draft.
"He's done a lot of little things and been able to chip in offensively," coach Scott Owens
But the biggest contribution may be how the talented senior has developed as a leader.
"He looks stronger, more confident and more comfortable with himself," Owens said. "He's team-oriented and playing under control. All rolled together that makes for a very good hockey player."
The senior from Ann Arbor,
Mich., had good numbers (31 goals, 45 assists) the first three years of his career — including 12 and 11 in 2008-09 despite missing four games to play for the U.S. at the junior world championships.
Sweatt worked hard this offseason to improve his stick handling and be a more well-rounded player. It has shown as a key player on special teams. He's been a top player on the WCHA's third-best penalty kill (31-of-35, 88.6 percent) and on the WCHA-leading power play (11-of-34, 32.4 percent), which has helped CC lead the league with 3.83 goals.
"If there's one thing I've focused on it is improving my stick handling but really it was about getting a little better at everything," he said.
His worth to the Tigers
— thanks to his game-changing speed— has been clear from the start. Now as an alternate captain, Sweatt helps captain Mike Testwuide lead in the locker room too.
"I'm more a leadership by example guy," Sweatt said. "I'm not a talker. I tell guys what they need to do when I need to but I just work hard."
He's been a good example, whether it is his offseason work or during games.
When senior Dan Quilico
sprained his left wrist against Michigan Tech, Owens double-shifted Sweatt because Owens knew the senior was fit enough to handle the extra time. He's also one Owens can count on.
"He's out there late in the game when you want a veteran out there," Owens said.
It comes down to the hard work Sweatt takes pride in.
"You work hard every night and you lay the foundation," he said. "You may not win every night, but if you're still setting a good foundation the wins will start coming."
His example has helped the team to a No. 11 ranking in the USA Today weekly poll.
"Everyone's bought into it," Sweatt said. "I saw this coming. We had a good spring and fall because we're a hard-working team. We know there are no shortcuts."