College hockey: Keep tabs on local talent

Perfect time to replace NHL hockey with entertainment of local talent in the ECAC.

With the NHL on strike, fans can feed their hockey fix by following local talent as they make their way through the college hockey ranks.

The puck has yet to drop on the NCAA Div. 1 season and already a Montrose product is receiving kudos.

Connor Jones was one of six players named to both the ECAC hockey coaches and media Preseason All-League teams last week, three of whom are BCHL graduates.

Union University’s and former Powell River Kings’ players Matt Bodie and Daniel Carr were also chosen for the team that includes Union team mate Troy Grosenick in goal, St. Lawrence forward Kyle Flanagan and defenceman Danny Biega from Harvard.

After leading the Bobcats in scoring with 41 points, Jones will headline a dynamic core of forwards in Quinnipiac that includes his co-MVP from last season, twin brother Kellen, who finished the year second in goals scored, 14, and third in points, 36. The brothers, who will also serve as assistant captains, were the only two Bobcats to reach double figures in goals and assists last season.

Trail native and 2012 RBC Cup champion Travis St. Denis of Trail joins the Jones duo in Quinnipiac this year, and is one reason the Bobcats were picked to finish in the top four in the ECAC division.

The ECAC Hockey head coaches and media picked the same top six teams in the exact same order, with Union, Cornell, Harvard and Quinnipiac holding down the top four spots.

Quinnipiac opens the 2012-13 season at Maine on Saturday.

Fruitvale’s Daniella Matteucci returned to Clarkson University to play for the Golden Knights. In exhibition play this week, the sophomore defenceman added an assist in a 14-0 romp of the Ottawa Senators. Clarkson kicks off its season with a non-conference game against St. Lawrence on Friday.

Trail native and former Smokie Steve Koshey is headed to the University of Alabama-Huntsville to play for the Chargers, joining former Trail teammate Graeme Strukoff.

Erik Cooper from last season’s Smokies team will lace them up with 2010 Smokie alum. Cullen Bradshaw for Div. 3 national champions St. Norbert this season.

Jake Baker continues his tenure with the Northern Michigan University Wildcats and 2009-10 Smokie alumni and highly touted Dan DeKeyser is ranked as one of the NCAA’s Top 10 defencemen in a preseason poll. DeKeyser who is in his junior year at Western Michigan was rated eighth in the nation among blue liners.

Brandon Clark is in his senior year with Iowa State, and former Smoke Eaters Rajan Sidhu will lace them up for RIT this season while Ben Mathews will play for Alaska-Anchorage, both in their freshman year.

Scott Jacklin begins his sophomore campaign with Robert Morris while fellow Kimberley native and former Smokie teammate Matt Wilkins begins his university career with the Union Dutchmen in the ECAC.

And finally, former Beaver Valley Nitehawk goalie Mike Vlanich and West Kootenay Wildcat forward Katelyn Yuris have hooked up with the SAIT Trojans men’s and women’s teams respectively in the Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference this season.

For more info go to uscho.com.