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On Campus: Drury playing with more confidence after World Juniors

Hurricanes prospect from Harvard praised by coach for 'a real honest game'

by Mark Divver / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Jack Drury was playing well for Harvard University before he left to play for the United States in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

Since returning, he's playing even better.

After getting two assists in a 3-3 tie at Princeton University on Jan. 4, the sophomore center had a hat trick with one assist in Harvard's 7-0 win against rival Yale University at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11.

"Quite often you see guys come back from the World Juniors and the skill level there and the pace of play probably is so high-end and intense that they come back with more confidence," Harvard coach Ted Donato said.

Drury (5-foot-11, 174), selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round (No. 42) of the 2018 NHL Draft, has great bloodlines in the game. His father, Ted, played at Harvard and 414 NHL games for the Calgary Flames, Hartford Whalers, Ottawa Senators, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets.

His uncle, Chris, won the Hobey Baker Award at Boston University in 1998 and the Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of the year in 1999 with the Colorado Avalanche. He played 892 NHL games for the Avalanche, Flames, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. He is currently the assistant general manager of the Rangers.

Jack Drury centers the first line and is third in scoring for Harvard with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 12 games. He does everything well, according to Donato.

"Jack plays a real honest game," Donato said. "You often hear coaches talking about 200-foot players, but Jack's a guy that is so sound fundamentally that sometimes you take for granted his excellent offensive abilities as well.

"He's a guy that takes big face-offs for us, kills penalties, he plays on the power play. He's matching up against the other team's top players. You forget that he's [19] years old, a natural sophomore. He's the kind of player that coaches love, teammates love. It's because he really takes zero shortcuts to find success."

Donato, a teammate of Ted Drury at Harvard, sees similarities between father and son. 

"It's the work ethic and the character and integrity to their game," Donato said. "They are little bit different players, but both are very effective. To me, Jack certainly has the 'it' factor both his dad and his uncle had. You can see that in the maturity and the way that he carries himself both on and off the ice." 

A player as motivated as Drury will do what it takes to build his strength and speed to be ready to play at the next level. Said Donato: "He's not a burner, speed-wise, so that's something he'll continue to work on. He's making great strides offensively and with the pace of his play, so we're very happy with where he's at in his development curve."

 

Boldy going

After an unproductive first half, Boston College forward Matthew Boldy is gaining traction with three points in his past three games, including one goal and one assist in a 6-3 victory at the University of Massachusetts on Jan. 11.

The 18-year-old freshman (6-2, 196), a graduate of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, was picked by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (No. 12) of the 2019 NHL Draft. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in 18 games.

 

Denver dynamo

Denver University has won six in a row, a streak that coincides with an uptick in point production by Ian Mitchell.

The junior defenseman (5-11, 173) was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (No. 57) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

The 20-year-old had three points (one goal, two assists) in a win against St. Cloud on Friday and an assist when Denver completed the sweep Saturday. Mitchell is second on the Pioneers with 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 22 games.

 

Hitting his target

John Leonard has scored 15 goals this season after scoring 16 last season. With eight goals in his past nine games, the junior forward has helped Massachusetts hold onto its No. 10 ranking in both national polls.

Leonard (5-11, 183) was picked by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round (No. 182) of the 2018 draft. The 21-year-old scored twice in a 3-1 win at Boston College on Jan. 10 and once in a 6-3 loss in a rematch at home the next night. He has 20 points (15 goals, five assists) in 22 games. 

Three players in the United States have scored more goals than Leonard: Tyce Thompson of Providence (17), Griffin Loughran of Northern Michigan (17) and Tyler Madden of Northeastern (16). Marc Michaelis (Minnesota State) and Chris Wilkie (Colorado College) have also scored 15.

 

Starting point

University of New Hampshire sophomore goalie Ty Taylor is making a strong case for more starts.

The 21-year-old has won all six of his starts this season and New Hampshire has won three games in a row, all started by Taylor. The most recent was a 5-4 overtime victory against Northeastern University, when Taylor made 16 saves on 20 shots.

Taylor (6-3, 196) was chosen by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round (No. 214) of the 2018 draft.

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