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Q & A with Long Beach State University goaltender - #33 Mike Bergman

By A. Sheldon

San Jose State defeated Long Beach State 3-1 Friday night at the Logitech Ice Center. Photos from the game can be found here. A. Sheldon took quotes from the San Jose State team after the game. Here is her interview with impressive Long Beach State goaltender Mike Bergman.

SJSU vs Long Beach State Mike Bergman

AS: “As the first cliché goaltending question - when and why did you choose to become a hockey goalie?”

MB: “I was 10-years-old and I’m not really sure why. I found a game on TV and the goaltender was doing well, so I kinda fell into it. And I was never really the biggest guy before when I was young, so it kinda fits to be the goaltender.”

AS: “Do you favor a particular equipment brand?”

MB: “I’ve kinda jumped around. Right now, I’m wearing Brians. They sponsor the college teams so that’s why I’ve got it.”

AS: “How has the style you play changed since you started for LBSU (if it has) and who has helped you along the way?”

MB: “My style hasn’t changed with Long Beach, but it has since playing prep school - back east at the National Sports Academy in New York. It’s the more advanced techniques of goaltending - the little things such as controlling the rebounds, footwork and handling the puck.”

MB: “There isn’t really one person. I’ve taken many hockey camps over the summer, so it’s more hockey camps in general than one specific person.”

AS: “How do you mentally prepare prior to game-time – are you relaxed with your teammates or do you need to be ‘in the zone’ so-to-speak?”

MB: “I’ll be around my teammates, but I keep to myself. I don’t usually talk too much and they understand.”

AS: “San Jose State said the only possible way they were going to get a puck past you was to obstruct your vision of the play. During games, how do you manage to keep your positioning when screened?”

MB: “During a screen, the most important part is to get as close to the screen as possible and try your best to look for the puck, which is definitely not always possible, but you do what you can.”

AS: “How often do you communicate with your defenseman?”

MB: “Not a lot. I’ll yell at them to move and they can’t hear me or they can’t move a person. During action, there’s not too much communication. The majority of the communication comes when the puck has been dumped in.”

SJSU vs Long Beach State Mike Bergman

AS: “Other than pitching a perfect game, what would be the next best thing from a technically?”

MB: “Make easy plays - not having to scramble and just be sound. No loose pucks, diving or scrambling. Complete puck control.”

AS: “Of all goaltending stats, which is the one that you truly care about and/or value most?

MB: “Goals against and save percentage. Of the two, it’s got to be save percentage because if you have a save percentage of .900% or above, it means you’re consistent.”

AS: “What part of your game do you try to work on most? What would you like to improve upon?”

MB: “Probably controlling loose pucks in the crease. In practice, certain drills have players put home loose pucks that sit in the crease.”

AS: “What opposing team this year has been the most challenging to play against and/or might present the biggest challenge?”

MB: “The teams we’ve played so far, probably San Jose has been the hardest. They never quit. They skated the entire 60 minutes and they’re excellent passers. We had a lot of missed opportunities. We hit the post a couple times and had a few missed shots. The hardest team I expect to face this year is Colorado State or Colorado College. We’ve never played them before, but they’ve consistently gone to the (ACHA) Nationals.”

AS: “If you could backstop any NHL team, which franchise & why?”

MB: “Probably the L.A. Kings or the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim so I could play in front of the home crowd - the people I’ve grown up with over the years.”

SJSU vs Long Beach State Mike Bergman

AS: “As an NHL goalie, what player would you least like to face on the breakaway - (Past or present)?”

MB: “That’s hard because there’s so many. To name one - probably Pavel Bure. His hands are impeccable.”

AS: “As a netminder, at what time are you most enjoying the game of hockey?”

MB: “It’s when I’m facing a lot of shots. Covered with shots - it’s more fun. You end up playing better when you face more shots.”

AS: “What has been the most memorable game and/or play for you? – good or bad?”

MB: “The most memorable moment was beating USC (3-1). It was the first game of this season and we haven’t beaten them in more than five years (or longer). It’s a bitter-sweet rival with them.”

AS: “What are your plans and/or specific goals for the future?”

MB: “After I graduate I would like to give the ECHL’s Long Beach Ice Dogs a try. Our goaltending coach is their goaltending coach. I’ve played with some of the players in pick-up leagues and adult leagues.”

AS: “NHL goalie greats: Hasek or Roy?”

MB: “Roy. Much more traditional, not so…unorthodox. He’s much more traditional and controlled than Hasek.”

AS: Which NHL goaltender do you most admire?”

MB: “Brodeur. He’s a lot more down to earth than Roy. I have a friend who tried to get an autograph from Roy, but he didn’t speak French so he couldn’t get an autograph. I got a card signed by Brodeur at one of the Ducks games.”

AS: “Do you care to vent on any other issues concerning the team?”

MB: “The only thing our team needs to work on is capitalizing on opportunities. I know we’ve had a few 5-on-3 opportunities, like against San Jose State - and some mental errors cost us. During the first three games of the season we were playing excellent and we just need to find that again. Plus, a 6-hour drive doesn’t help us.”

AS: “Your next game is scheduled for Thursday, November 11th against SJSU. What do you plan to do during the break?”

MB: “I’ll play every Thursday night for one of the local adult league teams - on top of practice.”

AS: “And what about your back-up netminder?”

MB: “Our coach is playing to win, so if we lose a game - I’m going to sit out the next game. He’s a junior too, so we’ll probably be graduating around the same time and Long Beach is looking for a goalie next year. The current (alternate back-up) - he’s a quick goaltender, but a little inexperienced and the coach will be looking to give him more experience this year and next. We’re still looking for a goalie to back him up when that time comes.”


Thanks to Long Beach head coach and GM John Cacciatore and LBSU goaltender Mike Bergman for their contributions.