Schneider makes his mark on and off ice for Irish
Jack Hefferon | Thursday, January 30, 2014
With all his natural ability, things tend to come easily for Peter Schneider. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worked hard to get them.
Growing up in Austria, Schneider learned his native language, German, then picked up Slovak and Czech while playing junior hockey in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He learned his fourth language, English, when he came to Indiana to play for the Indianapolis Ice of the USHL. His game did the talking from there, as his speed and skill caught the attention of Notre Dame, who offered him a scholarship less than a month into his time in the States.
Now, after two years of grinding out a spot in the lineup, the junior winger has emerged as a regular contributor for the Irish, scoring two goals and two assists in his last three games.
“He played well in the first half, but I think he’s been even better since we got back from Christmas,” Irish coach Jeff Jackson said. “He’s feeling it a little bit. He’s scored a few goals here in the last few weekends. I think that can do a world of good for his confidence.”
Schneider’s hot streak has coincided with Notre Dame’s, as the Irish (15-9-1, 4-6-1 Hockey East) have won five of their last six games and are looking to climb out of the bottom half of the conference standings. Schneider has climbed up in the lineup as well, as injuries and his recent performance earned him a spot on a line with two of Notre Dame’s top scorers, sophomore Mario Lucia and freshman Vince Hinostroza. Schneider looked at home in his new role on Saturday, pitching in a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Northeastern.
And while his scoring touch has brought the junior plenty of confidence, he only sees it as a small part of his game.
“I definitely try to bring a lot of energy, get the bench going and finish some hits — even though I’m from Europe,” Schneider said. “Just skating fast, putting pressure on the opponents and getting some shots on net, too.”
Schneider brings that same energy in practice, which has helped him gain more responsibility on the team. His hard work on the scout team penalty kill caught the attention of his coaches, and he has gradually moved into the team’s rotation on the kill.
His shorthanded ability was on display this weekend, as Schneider used his speed to turn nothing into something, the hard way.
Down a man, senior forward Jeff Costello corralled a loose puck in the Irish zone, and Schneider took off down the ice, speeding past Northeastern’s point men. Costello hit Schneider in stride with a saucer pass, then Schneider made a move to his backhand and lifted the puck over Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt for the score.
“I haven’t had a lot of success with my backhand move; my coach in juniors used to make fun of me for it,” Schneider said. “I was thinking about it a lot before, and the play before we went out on the ice, I told [Costello] that ‘If I get a breakaway, I’ve got to go backhand and score.’ And this time I did.”
Taking the harder route paid off for Schneider on that play, as it often does off the ice, as well. Schneider is a finance and economics double major, with a minor in mathematics. Even with the difficulty of his course load and commitments, Schneider maintains a GPA above 3.9, and his Dean’s List credentials resulted in his inclusion on the CCHA Scholar-Athlete Team last season.
“I just try to make the best of all the time in the day,” he said. “School has always come easily to me. But I think I’m a hard worker and I prepare well … I think that pays off.”
So far this season, it certainly has.
Contact Jack Hefferon at [email protected]