The Vermont Cynic

Catamount hockey adds nine new first-year players


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Catamount men’s hockey is welcoming nine first-years to the team for the 2016-2017 season.

Joining the returning Catamount players will be first-year goaltender Stefanos Lekkas, first-year defenders Max Daigle, Matthew O’Donnell, Jake Massie and Corey Moriarty as well as first-year forwards Matt Alvaro, Cameron Klein, Derek Lodermeier and Ross Colton.

Stefanos Lekkas

Lekkas joined the Catamounts from the United States Hockey League’s Sioux Falls Stampede, with whom he won the Clark Cup in 2015.

Last season, the native of El- burn, Illinois posted a .924 save percentage in 45 games for the Stampede, earning a spot on the USHL’s Third All-Star Team.

He credits some of this to the playoff run from the prior year.

“That year helped my game a lot,” Lekkas said. “Those situations get you ready to play big games. You learn to play your best hockey when it’s needed, and you learn how to win mustwin games.”

Max Daigle

Daigle, a native of St. Lambert, Quebec, arrived from Islanders Hockey Club of the United States Premier Hockey League Premier Division, a team based in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts.

He produced 27 points in 43 games for the Islanders.

Sneddon said he believes Daigle will bring “skill, mobility, intelligence and character to our team.”

Matthew O’Donnell

O’Donnell fought injury for most of his 2015-2016 season with the New Jersey Hitmen of the USPHL Premier, playing only 15 games, but producing 15 points from the blueline in the process.

He previously captained the Loomis Chafee School in Connecticut and played a season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.

Sneddon said O’Donnell is “healthy and ready to go this season.”

Jake Massie

Massie, a sixth-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes from the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, was a late recruit.

He had originally committed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, but switched to UVM in March after the Minutemen fired head coach John Micheletto and their new head coach, Mike Carvel, “didn’t see a fit” for him.

Massie’s NHL rights were traded to Chicago in September 2015, and these two factors have helped motivate him.

“I would say it’s got a little chip on my shoulder,” Massie said.

Originally an offensive defender, he is working on reinventing himself as a defensive defenseman, a role that he says the Blackhawks want him to play.

Corey Moriarty

Moriarty joins the Catamounts from the Boston Jr. Bruins of the USPHL Premier, where he was an All-Star defender, posting 24 points in 44 games.

Sneddon sees the native of Palm City, Florida as a player who “moves very well and can make plays at both ends of the rink.”

Ross Colton

Colton was drafted this summer by the Tampa Bay Lightning and finished No. 2 last season in the USHL in scoring as a member of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

He jumped from 33 points in 2014-2015 to 66 last season.

This performance earned him a spot on the USHL First- Team All-Star team as well as a spot on the United States national team at the World Junior A Challenge.

He credits this to RoughRiders head coach Mark Carlson and his teammates in Cedar Rapids.

“[Carlson] just had a lot more confidence in me,” Colton said.

“I was a first line guy and out there in different situations, and the guys I played with made me a better player, so I give a lot of credit to them,” he said.

Derek Lodermeier

Lodermeier, who last year captained the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits to a league title, shows talent both on and off the ice.

He posted 60 points during the regular season and a team- best 24 more during the Bandits’ AJHL playoff run, and was not only named to the AJHL South All-Star Team, but also to the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Academic All-Star Team.

“We haven’t had a big center in several years, so it will be nice to have Derek’s size [6 feet 3 inches] and skill centering one of our lines,” Sneddon said.

Cameron Klein

Like Lodermeier, Klein also brings size to the table, standing at 6 feet 3 inches.

Last season, he posted 27 points in 29 games for the PAL Junior Islanders of the USPHL Premier.

The Alpine, New Jersey native spent the majority of the previous season at Avon Old Farms prep school in Connecticut.

“It may take some time for [Klein] to get used to the speed of the game at the college level, but his work ethic and attitude will help him get there,” Sneddon said.

Matt Alvaro

Alvaro captained the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms last season, posting 30 points in 60 games in the process.

He had previously spent two seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, being named to the Second Team All-Prospect in both seasons.

Sneddon said he sees Alvaro as a future leader.

“He has exceptional speed, good hockey sense and leadership potential down the road for us,” he said.

These nine players will get their first taste of college hockey Oct. 1 when UVM hosts Concordia University in an exhibition game.

The Cats will then travel to Potsdam, New York to play Clarkson Oct. 7 before returning to Burlington to play Clarkson in the second game of the set Oct. 8.

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Catamount hockey adds nine new first-year players