Looking back at the early days of this college hockey season, Brian Dumoulin admits he overcompensated.

His passes were too strong or too wide. His shots didn’t have the force he anticipated. He’d make the wrong decision and, as a result, put his team in a difficult situation.

Something wasn’t working. So Dumoulin, a sophomore defenseman at Boston College, took a step back and evaluated his play.

“I started out where I was trying to do things too much,” the Biddeford resident said. “After last year, I was trying to do the things I couldn’t do. In the first 10 games this year, I had two points. I had to get level-headed and realize, things will happen.

“Now I’m not thinking about anything. I’m just playing. And I have such a good team around me that I can keep it simple and my teammates will help me.”

When he looked back, he acknowledged there’s a tenet at Boston College: Move forward.

“That’s something that everyone is geared to, winning the next game and trying to improve,” Dumoulin said. “We look back and we ask, did we improve? Have we gotten rid of the mistakes? Have we bettered ourselves? We make sure we step forward each month.”

Dumoulin and the Eagles open the NCAA tournament at 9 tonight against Colorado College at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Regardless of whether Boston College is able to successfully defend its national title, Dumoulin said he plans to return to Boston College for his junior year rather than sign with the Carolina Hurricanes, who drafted him in 2009. Though he led Hockey East defenseman in scoring (3 goals and 30 assists in 36 games), he still sees room for improvement before he can make the transition to the professional level.

“We’d heard about him when he was at Biddeford High School and we followed his progress,” Boston College Coach Jerry York said. “He’s just become better every year. I attribute that to the fact that he wants to be a better hockey player. He wants to improve every day, whether it’s shooting, passing or skating.”

Throughout the course of his freshman year, which culminated with Boston College winning the national championship, Dumoulin learned how to adapt to the college game. The seasoning has benefited him in his sophomore year.

“Last year, this was all new to me,” he said. “It was about finding your own niche and trying to play well. I didn’t have much of a leadership standpoint, but this year I feel different. It’s about knowing how to play in the big games and trying to do the best I can with my game.”

York also noted Dumoulin’s poise as it pertains to the team dynamic.

“He’s great for the (locker) room,” York said. “He’s very, very positive. He’s one of those people, whether it’s in hockey, in a classroom or with his family, he’s just a very, very good person.”

Boston College participating in the NCAA tournament is a rite of late March. The Eagles have qualified for the NCAA tournament 18 times since 1985 and have played in five national title games since 2005. While winning is habitual for the Eagles, Dumoulin insists there’s a purpose behind each game, whether it’s a Hockey East contest or a national tournament game.

“We’re going into each game and each tournament saying, ‘We want to win it,’ ” Dumoulin said. “Not ‘We want to defend it.’ We want to win the next game in front of us. We go in trying to win. That has to be our mentality going into the national tournament.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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