Sr. | F | East Falmouth, Mass.
Statistics: Valdes will be asked to provide more
scoring punch for the Yellowjackets as a senior. The team’s
third-leading returning scorer from a year ago, he notched
a team-best nine goals and added five assists.
What He Does: Score when it counts. Case
in point—Valdes had two goals in AIC’s 4-1 win
against Sacred Heart late last season. The victory gave a
scuffling Yellowjacket group a positive vibe at the end of
the year and snapped Sacred Heart's four-game winning streak,
sending the Pioneers into a late-season tailspin from which
they would never recover. In AIC’s four wins, Valdes
registered three goals and two assists.
The Bigger Picture: In looking at the Yellowjackets
of a year ago—an NCAA-low four wins, among the bottom
five in the country in scoring offense, scoring defense and
power play success—one might think coach Gary Wright
has quite a mountain to climb in order to bring AIC to Atlantic
Hockey respectability. A closer look indicates Wright has
the Yellowjackets right on the cusp. AIC, which returns all
but three players from a year ago, lost 11 games by two goals
or less in 2004-05. If Valdezs and Co. draw on their experience
and leadership, AIC could easily move up in the Atlantic Hockey
standings this season.
AIC coach Gary Wright on Valdes: "Jeff
is a great player and a great ambassador for American International
hockey. His play on the ice mirrors his conduct off the ice,
and his offensive play and improvement we look forward to
seeing this season."