LOS ANGELES -- When Matt Nieto watched games during the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there was a good chance one of his old pals was on the television screen.
Three of Nieto's former teammates with the L.A. Hockey Club, a traveling youth team in Southern California, made their NHL postseason debuts in 2013. Emerson Etem of the Anaheim Ducks, Beau Bennett of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild were all on that big stage a year ago, while Nieto had just completed his junior season at Boston University and signed his first professional contract.
Just as Nieto had to wait an extra year to be drafted because of his November birthday, he had to wait a year to join in on the Stanley Cup Playoffs fun. And just as Etem became a surprise star for the Ducks in 2013, Nieto's postseason career is off to a great start with a goal and four points in three games for the San Jose Sharks, who lead the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 in a Western Conference First Round series.