This week’s interview is with Washington Galaxy RW Jefferson McNeely.
SHL Digest: Here we are again, talking to the top scorer of the Washington Galaxy, Jefferson McNeely. Jefferson, thanks for speaking with us.
Jefferson McNeely: Glad to be here!
SHLD: So we’re headed into the last week of the season, and you’re locked in a tight race with Hershey for the title in the East. You won the division last year. Do you think that gives you an edge, even though you’re behind right now?
JM: I think it does, yeah. The fact that we’ve done this before, that we’ve gone all the way, it gives us a real sense of confidence. We believe in ourselves because we know we can do it.
SHLD: Last season, you didn’t face any serious challenge on your way to the division title. This season is a different story, obviously. What do you think made this year different?
JM: I have to give the credit to the Bliss for that one. I think we’re playing as strong as last year, but Hershey’s taken things to the next level. Last season, when they lost Lance [Sweet], it basically tanked their season. This year, he’s healthy and the Love Line is really clicking. And the trade they made to get Jesse Clarkson answered the question in net for them. They’re a really strong team.
SHLD: What do you think gives you the edge?
JM: The experience factor, like I said. And the fact that we’re such a balanced team. I think they rely a lot on the Love Line. We’ve got quality scoring threats on all three lines. We can match any style that other teams throw at us.
SHLD: There are those who say it doesn’t really matter who wins the East, because you’ll just get routed in the Finals by whoever wins the West (most likely Michigan). What do you say to those people?
JM: I’d say those people must have short memories. Because that’s the same thing everyone said last year, that we were going to get slaughtered by Anchorage. And we took the Finals to the limit, and we very nearly won the whole thing. So anyone who wants to write us off, go ahead. We’re not scared.
SHLD: Let’s shift the focus to you for a minute. You’ve really had a breakout year this season; you’re one of the top goal scorers in the league. What have you done differently this year that’s allowed you to succeed?
JM: I think the key for me has been varying up my game a little bit. I think last season, some of my moves and the spots where I liked to shoot from, they were a little predictable, and I think other teams were keying on them. I know I was frustrated because I wasn’t getting the clean looks I’m used to.
SHLD: So how did you fix that issue?
JM: This year, I started skating to the goal mouth more often, looking for tip-in tries, and working with the coaches to change up my moves some. I’ve just become a better, more complete player.
SHLD: Sounds like you’re ready to give it a good run this season. Best of luck!
JM: Thanks! We’re ready to go out there and capture the Vandy.