Each week, GoCrimson.com will take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the members of the Harvard women's hockey team. This week features freshman defensman, Briana Mastel. (Gil Talbot)
Why did you choose Harvard?
Academics have always been of the utmost importance to me; right up there with academics is also my love for the game of hockey. Here at Harvard, I can be pushed to reach my greatest potential as a student and as a hockey player. The atmosphere is friendly, yet competitive at the same time. It's the perfect mix that pushes me out of my comfort zone while allowing me to have fun in doing so.
Whom do you model your game after and why?
I actually model my game after one of my teammates, our captain, Marissa 'Geddy' Gedman. Prior to Harvard, she played at my club program and I had the opportunity to watch her play as well as practice and play against her. She, like myself, is a defenseman so I pay close attention to the little things that she does well.
At this level, everyone can skate, shoot and pass, but it's the little things that separate the good players from the great ones, and Geddy is without a doubt a great player. She has tremendous poise when the puck is on her stick and works her tail off to get the puck when it is not. She also has great gap control, makes hard tape-to-tape passes, and plays a physical game. Not only is she a great player on the ice, but she's an even better person off the ice.
Is there any significance as to why you wear your number?
17 was my dad's number throughout his entire hockey career. He has been my biggest fan since the very beginning and has made many sacrifices for me to have the opportunities that I have had over the years. He's one of my role models and I want to represent the number well. My younger sister, 11, also has taken the number 17.
What's your favorite pregame meal?
I like to keep my pregame meal simple. I love grilled chicken with either a side of spinach or broccoli.
Do you have any superstitions before getting on the ice?
I always alternate from right to left with my equipment, so right shin guard then left, right sock then left, pants, right skate then left, shoulder pads, right elbow pad then left and so on. Other than that, I don't have any others.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself as a hockey player?
Strong, perceptive, hard-working
What/who are you listening to pregame, and why?
I love some country music. Country music keeps my nerves down before the game and then when it's time to hit the ice, the warm-up mix usually has more upbeat music to get my adrenaline flowing and gets me pumped up and ready to go.
What is your favorite thing about Cambridge/Boston?
There is always something to do, somewhere to go, or places to see. I also love that there are always people out and about at any time of day. The city is a very lively place and has a good atmosphere.
What other Harvard team do you enjoy watching as a fan?
I love watching any sport but my top ones are hockey, basketball, football and lacrosse.
If you could travel back in time, when/where would you go?
I have always wanted to travel back in time, but it's hard to say where I would go. I think the roaring twenties would be a cool time period, but I think I would settle for the 40's/50's. A lot happened, but that's what keeps life interesting.
If you could have a superpower, which one would you chose?
This is such a tough one. Teleporting would be an awesome superpower.