Jr. | F | Toronto, Ont.
who is averaging more than a point per game over his career,
is the latest in a line of gifted scorers in Kalamazoo.
Statistics: Bellissimo led the Broncos with 40 points
in 38 games as a sophomore and has 76 points in 75 career
contests. He ranked among the CCHA’s top 10 in points,
assists (27) and power play goals (six).
He Does: Western Michigan has been blessed with gifted
scorers in recent years – David Gove, Mike Bishai and
Dana Lattery, to name a few – and Bellissimo is the
latest in that line. He followed up a 36-point rookie effort
with 13 goals and 27 assists last season. His strength is
his play in traffic. At 6-0, 200 pounds, Bellissimo isn’t
overly big, but he’s tough to knock off the puck, likes
to drive to the net and has a quick release on his shot. And
while he won’t remind anyone of Bob Gainey, he’s
not one to shirk his responsibilities in his own end.
Bigger Picture: According to Western Michigan coach
Jim Culhane, it’s not how much Bellissimo scores but
when he scores that will be crucial to the Broncos’
success this season. Only four of his 32 career goals are
of the game-winning variety and with the departures of Lattery,
Jeff Campbell and Lucas Drake among others, the onus for producing
in the clutch falls on the Toronto native’s shoulders.
In an effort to drive his point home, Culhane had Bellissimo
focus on Jarome Iginla and Martin St. Louis during the Stanley
Cup Finals. He used a similar method to get Bellissimo thinking
more about all-around play, urging the die-hard Maple Leafs
fan to study the games of guys like Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk.
Michigan coach Jim Culhane on Bellissimo: "Over his career
from a junior player to the present day, Vince has demonstrated
his offensive skill. We've challenged him to.develop some
grit and edge and to score big goals at big times. He has
to be a difference when pucks aren't going into the net. You
can't be a one-dimensional player."