Rivers defenseman Pat Lawn will soon be skating with his team in an Elite Eight semifinal. The 3.5-star prospect grew up in Waltham, Mass., and recently committed to Bentley for the 2021-22 season.
Neutral Zone caught up with the ’01 and chatted about his youth hockey experience, his time at Rivers and more.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Pat Lawn: I started playing hockey when I was around three years old when my dad signed me up for learn to skate at Veterans Memorial Rink in Waltham.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory of playing hockey?
PL: My earliest memory of playing hockey was when my mites team full of all my best friends beat the best team in our league for the championship.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
PL: For almost the entirety of my youth hockey career, I played for the Boston Jr. Eagles. I got to play with and against some of the top players in the country, and this is where I really fell in love with the game.
NZ: How did you end up Rivers?
PL: In seventh grade, my family and I started talking about prep school. We looked at Rivers, Roxbury Latin, and BB&N. After my visitation day at Rivers, I knew exactly where I wanted to be. And of course, I would get the chance to play for one of the best coaches in high school hockey under Shawn McEachern.
NZ: How has playing there helped your development?
PL: Playing at Rivers has shaped me into the player I am today. As a team, we value hard work, smart play, and trusting our system. Also, the older guys on the team have set a great example of what that looks like. Playing alongside Brown commit Tony Andreozzi has helped me improve my skills in all aspects of the game. Day in and day out we learn what it takes to get to the next level.
NZ: Take us through the NCAA recruitment process. What other schools were you talking to and where did you visit?
PL: Earlier this season, I began to gain interest from several schools. Some Ivy League and Hockey East schools began contacting coach Mceachern asking for my transcripts. Although, Bentley was the only school that got in touch with me and showed a lot of interest. I was in touch with coach Ben Murphy from Bentley throughout the season, until I set up a time to visit in early February
NZ: What made you decide to commit to Bentley?
PL: On my visit a couple weeks ago, I was extremely impressed with the academic and athletic sides of the school. The new rink is a state-of-the-art facility, and I knew right away that Bentley would be the school for me. coach Soderquist and coach Murphy showed their full and honest interest throughout the recruitment process. I am excited to be a part of everything Bentley has to offer on and off the ice.
NZ: What went into that decision for you and your family to know it was the right place?
PL: Bentley happens to be in my hometown of Waltham, so it’s really cool to be the first local kid to join the program. My family and I understand that it is an awesome opportunity for me to attend such a great school and a rising hockey program with the new rink.
NZ: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen while playing hockey?
PL: A couple months ago in a game against Belmont Hill, our goalie got a 10-minute misconduct and was sent to the penalty box. It was definitely an interesting moment and something my teammates and I can joke about now.
NZ: What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you in hockey?
PL: Some of the best advice I’ve received in hockey has been to trust my game and not think too much. I play my best when I play hard, fast, loose and don’t worry about anything but playing my game.
NZ: What are your best on-ice skills?
PL: My best on-ice skills are my smarts, physical abilities and strong skating. I have a good stick in the defensive zone, and I’m able to make smart plays to move the play up ice. I have been fortunate enough to play meaningful minutes this year which shows that I am able to be reliable in tight-game situations.
NZ: What aspect of your game are you working on improving the most?
PL: I’m working hard to improve my offensive abilities. I need to get up ice more in joining the rush and work the blue line better to get pucks on net. It’s important for me to work toward becoming an all-around player instead of just a one-way defenseman.
NZ: Is there a professional player you model your game after?
PL: One of my players is Torey Krug on the Boston Bruins. Just like him, I’m a bit of an undersized defenseman, although I am strong in the defensive end and can make plays.
NZ: Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
PL: The biggest influences in my hockey career have been my parents and coach Mceachern. My parents have been the all my life, from early mornings at the youth hockey rink, to attending all my games at Rivers. Meanwhile, coach Mceachern has pushed me to continue to make strides in the right direction. He finds the best in me, and is the reason I am able to move to the next level.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?
PL: The toughest challenge I’ve faced in hockey came during my freshman year at Rivers. On a very old and experienced team, it was tough for me to find a role, and because of that I didn’t receive the minutes I would’ve liked. I learned from my experience and was able to come back ready to take on a bigger role this year.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in life?
PL: The toughest challenge I’ve faced in life was my decision to attend Rivers. In a time where I was beginning to form some lifelong friendships in Waltham, I was willing to give it all up for a new life at Rivers. Luckily, I made the best decision of my life.