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On Campus: York enjoying smooth transition at Michigan

Freshman defenseman earning comparisons to Quinn Hughes of Canucks

by Mark Divver / Independent Correspondent

Cameron York has been everything coach Mel Pearson hoped he would be as a freshman at the University of Michigan.

The 19-year-old defenseman was highly touted coming into the season, befitting a player selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round (No. 14) of the 2019 NHL Draft. 

He's living up to expectations. 

"The adjustment has been smooth for him," Pearson said. "He had some injuries at the start of the year, and he missed some time. Then he went to the World Juniors and got humbled over there a little bit because it's an older players' tournament. Since he's come back, he's played extremely well."

York (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is tied for third in scoring for Michigan with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 22 games. He had two assists in an 8-4 win against the University of Wisconsin on Feb. 7.

A native of Anaheim, California, York played roller hockey before switching to ice hockey. He played at Shattuck St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota, which counts Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews among its hockey alumni, before moving on to the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team.

Seven of his NTDP teammates from last season were also picked in the first round of the 2019 draft.

"What he does so well is he reads the game, thinks the game, and that allows him to be an elite player at our level," Pearson said. "Everybody else is going a hundred miles an hour and Cam can slow the game down. He's in control of the game when he's on the ice.

"He likes to have the puck on his stick. He's really smooth, not unlike the kid we had last year, Quinn Hughes. A little bit different-type player, but the same stature, lefthanded, both with great hockey sense."

Like Hughes, the Vancouver Canucks defenseman contending for the Calder Trophy given to the top rookie in the NHL, York has the tools to succeed at the NHL level.

"He's going to have a good chance because he's got the skills and the mental makeup, and that's a huge part of it," Pearson said. "You have to have the want and the desire, the work ethic, to make sure you can get to the next level, but can take coaching, too. That's so important in this day and age.

"I don't see anything that would impede him from being the next good young defenseman in the NHL."


Leonard shining at Massachusetts

John Leonard of the University of Massachusetts put on a dazzling offensive display in a 5-1 road win against Providence College on Feb. 8.

The junior forward (5-11, 183) scored a hat trick on three tremendous individual plays and added an assist with a perfect pass on the stick of center Jack Suter. He is second in the NCAA with 20 goals, one behind Griffin Loughran of Northern Michigan. Leonard has 27 points (20 goals, seven assists) in 28 games. 

The 21-year-old was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round (No. 182) of the 2018 NHL Draft.


Zegras comes through

Boston University freshman center Trevor Zegras electrified a sellout crowd at TD Garden by scoring with 1.2 seconds left to force overtime in the championship game of the Beanpot tournament Feb. 10. Northeastern won 5-4 in overtime.

It was the second goal of the game for Zegras, who has 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 26 games.

The 18-year-old (6-0, 169) was picked by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round (No. 9) of the 2019 draft.


Gopher leader

Scott Reedy scored two goals and had an assist in the University of Minnesota's 4-1 win against Michigan State on Feb. 7, then scored one goal in a 4-2 loss to MSU the next night.

The 20-year-old junior center has a team-leading 14 goals, twice as many as he scored last season (seven goals, four assists). He has 19 points (14 goals, five assists) in 26 games.

Reedy (6-2, 205) was selected by the Sharks in the fourth round (No. 102) of the 2017 NHL Draft.


Hults delivering for Penn State

Cole Hults has been a dependable point producer all season for Penn State and the junior defenseman delivered again last weekend.

The 21-year-old (6-0, 189) scored one goal in a 2-2 tie with Ohio State University on Friday and had a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win against OSU on Saturday.

Hults was picked by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round (No. 134) of the 2017 draft. He leads Big Ten defensemen with 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 30 games and all conference players at plus-21.


Boldy heats up

Matthew Boldy has 10 points in his past 12 games after scoring two in his first 14. 

The Boston College freshman forward (6-2, 196) scored one goal and had two assists in a 7-2 win against Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game. He has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 26 games.

The 18-year-old was picked by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (No. 12) of the 2019 draft.

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