So. | D | Bloomington, Minn.
Connelly emulated former Bloomington Jefferson and
Minnesota standout Mike Crowley.
Key Statistics: Connelly
finished second among Tiger freshmen (and first among
rookie defensemen) offensively with 17 points. He earned
a spot on the Tigers’ top man advantage unit right
away and notched 10 points there as the team finished
second in the league in power play efficiency.
What He Does: One of
the most recent successful products of the renowned
Bloomington Jefferson High School hockey program (which
has produced NHLers like Tom Kurvers, Ben Clymer, Tom
Gilbert, Mark Parrish and Toby Peterson, among others),
Connelly makes his living as a puck-moving offensive
The Bigger Picture: One of the more
unexpected impact newcomers in the WCHA last season,
Connelly says that he was surprised as anyone to play
in as many games and get all the important ice time
he did as a freshman. His offensive game flourished
via accurate breakout passing, strong skating and a
quick-release shot. But if Connelly has his way, that
rookie success was just an appetizer. He’s spent
the summer concentrating less on ice time and more on
work in the weight room determined not only to add girth
and strength, but to plug some admitted weaknesses in
the defensive side of his game. As a kid, Connelly tried
to do everything on and off the ice (including the way
he tucked in his sweater) just like Jefferson star offensive
defenseman Mike Crowley, who finished his college career
as an All-American at Minnesota. That’s not a
bad example to follow.
CC Tigers coach Scott Owens on
Connelly: "Right from the start, Brian
was a key player on a power play until that had lost
(Marty) Sertich, (Brett) Sterling, and (Joey) Crabbe
and was still able to finish at the top of the league.
He stepped in right away and was very productive. It
kind of surprised us with how quickly he adapted and
the progress he made.”