ST. PAUL, Minn. — Whether Andrew Oglevie is better at center or on the wing depends on if you ask the player himself or his coach, but regardless of where he plays the junior has helped propel Notre Dame to its second consecutive Frozen Four appearance.
Oglevie moved to center right before the Irish went on their well-documented, 16-game winning streak. Whether those two things are connected is up to interpretation, but the move ended up being a permanent one.
“I think I suggested it to [Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson] at the beginning of the season,” Oglevie said on Wednesday, the day before the Irish play Michigan in the semifinals. “The first few weeks, he kept me with Jake [Evans] and then we decided to make the move and it’s worked ever since. I think we went on that long run after we made the move, so it’s been beneficial to the team for sure.”
Jackson said he believes the Fullerton, Calif., native can use his speed more on the wing, but had no trouble coming up with a list of things that he does well at center.
“He’s a responsible player at center, so he does a great job in that aspect,” Jackson said. “With his skating and puck skills, he’s got a lot of positive attributes. He does a great job on our penalty kill. He’s a key guy on the power play.”
Oglevie, who said he played center a little bit for Cedar Rapids in the USHL, said the biggest difference about his new position was that he focuses more on defense and looks to be more of a playmaker, rather than just a goal-scorer.
“Center is just more defensive responsibilities and you’ve got to get back to the house and take care of the D-zone before you go play offense,” he said. “Just distributing the puck to where it needs to go and kind of reading the play and being in the right spots defensively and also trying to create offense from the D-zone, too.”
As a sophomore, Oglevie enjoyed a breakout season last year, scoring 21 goals and tallying 20 assists. This year, Jackson recognized his contributions by naming him one of the team’s alternate captains. Despite the position change and missing a few games with an injury, he has 13 goals and 21 assists.
“Being a captain this year was important, to transition into a leadership role,” Jackson said. “He’s a mature kid. He’s had a good year for us, maybe not to the same level as last year, but he’s certainly a guy that can change a game with his skill and ability.”
Oglevie said he relished the opportunity to take a bigger leadership role.
“Coach respects what you have to say, so he really listens to our leadership group and our captains,” he said. “Just being able to give him that input and support our guys and lead them in the right direction, and we have two more games to win so hopefully we can do that.”
Two more wins would give Notre Dame its first NCAA championship. The Irish were beaten by Denver is last year’s Frozen Four semifinal game, and Oglevie hopes that the team learned from last year’s experience in Chicago and that it transitions to success in St. Paul.
“I think last year we were kind of mesmerized by the whole thing,” he said. “This year we have a mature group now and kind of a ‘been there, done that’ thing. So, we just want to stay even-keeled and get after it.”