Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Mike Lombardi

Quinnipiac recently picked up a verbal commitment from 1998 forward Mike Lombardi, a Rhode Island native playing at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire which is one of the top prep schools in the northeast for hockey. Lombardi is the fourth 1998 born player to choose Quinnipiac out of 25 future commitments following Zach Metsa, Khristian Acosta and T.J. Brown. I had a chance to catch up with him as he was gratuitous to give me some of this time for a question and answer session.

Mike Lombardi (photo courtesy of Mike Lombardi twitter)

Jonathan Singer: First of all congratulations on your verbal commitment to Quinnipiac. Tell us how your recruiting process went?

Mike Lombardi: My recruiting process was extremely stressful but also fun. I had a few schools that I looked at, but once I stepped on campus at Quinnipiac I knew that this was the place for me.

Jonathan Singer: What other schools were you considering besides Quinnipiac? What separated Quinnipiac from those other schools?

Mike Lombardi: I visited UMass Amherst and Providence College. What separated Quinnipiac for me was the chance to compete for a national championship every year. I also wanted the chance to play for head coach [Rand] Pecknold, associate coach [Bill] Riga and associate coach [Joe] Dumais.

Jonathan Singer: Currently you play for a coach at Kimball Union in Tim Whitehead who has taken seven teams to the NCAA tournament with four trips to the Frozen Four during his time at the University of Maine. What is it like playing for such an accomplished coach and what have you learned from him?

Mike Lombardi: I owe everything to coach Whitehead. He has taught me so much about the game and I'm so lucky to have been able to play for him. Not too many high school kids get the chance to play for someone who has won at every level like him.

Jonathan Singer: Did coach Whitehead play a part in helping you make a decision on which college to attend considering he has strong ties to many coaches in the college game?

Mike Lombardi: He advised me but ultimately told me it was my decision to make and that he would support it, regardless of where I went. Coach Whitehead had coached Bill Riga at UMass Lowell so they stayed in contact throughout the process.

Jonathan Singer: What type of game do you play when you are on the ice? Is it more of a power game or finesse game? Are you someone who likes to be one of the leaders on team?

Mike Lombardi: I play more of a power game in which I like to use my speed and my body to protect the puck. I like to be able to make plays on the rush. I'm an assistant captain at Kimball Union and I like to be a leader. I want to be someone who is able to lead the way for our team.

Jonathan Singer: Outside of Kimball Union, you also play for the Boston Junior. Bruins U-18 short season team. What is the type of play like in that league and is it made up of more prep players looking to play in more games than what the prep season has to offer?

Mike Lombardi: I played for the Boston Junior Bruins in the fall before the Kimball Union season began. It is mostly prep school players and on the Junior Bruins team there were also eight Kimball Union players that I played with. Most prep teams have a few guys on each team. Once the Kimball Union season begins the Boston Junior Bruins season ends.

Jonathan Singer:  You graduate from Kimball Union this spring. At this time you have not been drafted by a USHL team. Is the goal to be drafted in the USHL Phase II draft and hopefully play there next season or another league like the BCHL or NAHL?

Mike Lombardi: I am hoping to be drafted this spring in the USHL draft but I may also play in the BCHL next season.

Jonathan Singer: What are some of the things you want to improve on in your game as you move into junior hockey next season before you reach Quinnipiac?

Mike Lombardi: I definitely want to get stronger and faster as I need to put on some weight before I can make that jump to the Division I level to play for Quinnipiac.

Jonathan Singer: Is it the expectation that you will arrive at Quinnipiac in the fall of 2018 or does it depend on how your development progresses?

Mike Lombardi: I think the plan right now is to enter Quinnipiac for the fall of 2018.

Jonathan Singer: You are the third future Bobcat commit from the state of Rhode Island following Matt Creamer and Matt Fawcett. Did you talk to any of them before deciding on Quinnipiac?

Mike Lombardi: I know both of them extremely well but I did not talk to them before making my decision. With them committed to Quinnipiac I knew it would make the transition so much easier because those guys are good friends of mine.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.

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