Jr . | F | Canmore, Alberta
Ferris State was 8-2-1 last season in games in which
Brendan Connolly scored a goal.
Key Statistics: After
scoring one goal and six assists as a freshman, Connolly
notched 11 goals and 11 assists last season. He shared
the team lead in goals with then senior Matt Verdone.
No other Bulldog scored more than nine goals.
What He Does: Scores
in bunches, for starters. He put up 2-4—6 over
a six-game stretch early in the season, recorded 2-1—3
during a three-game span to start December, added 4-2—6
in seven games from Jan. 20-Feb. 3, and totaled five
points in wins at Notre Dame and Lake Superior State
on consecutive Fridays late in the year. A team such
as Ferris State — which prefers to play a grinding,
physical style — hardly seems like a good fit
for the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Connolly. As evidenced by
his 105 penalty minutes in his two seasons with the
Bulldogs and his willingness to challenge anyone wearing
the opposite-colored sweater, however, he's wired much
like ex-NHL super pest Theoron Fleury. "He plays
bigger than he is," says FSU captain Adam Welch.
"He knows what he's gonna do, and he doesn't let
people stop him."
The Bigger Picture: Among CCHA teams,
only Alaska, Northern Michigan, and Bowling Green scored
fewer goals than Ferris State last season. Connolly
and sophomore Cody Chupp (8-15—23 as a freshman)
will be expected spark the Bulldogs offensively and
pilot a power play that ranked 10th in the conference.
Despite that responsibility and a reputation as a top-flight
scorer — Connolly is the leading scorer in the
history of the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks
Bandits — he's hardly a one-trick pony. Connolly,
who can play either center or left wing, spent most
of his junior career on defense. Welch believes Connelly's
blue-line detail enhanced his ability to battle bigger
Ferris State defenseman Adam Welch
on Connolly's emergence as a scorer: "Confidence
plays a big part in everybody's game. Last year, [Brendan]
got chances on the power play, and he capitalized on
the chances. It just seems to happen that once you get
one goal, you start getting more opportunities. You
score once, and then you're getting a backdoor pass
every game. But he worked hard for the goals. When you
see that hard work paying off, it's easier to keep working."