Newcomers set to play key roles for hockey

Locria Courtright, Assistant Sports Editor

Twelve newcomers joined the men’s ice hockey team for the 2017-18 season. The group of first-years consists of two goaltenders, four defenders and six forwards.


Tyler Harmon, Goaltender

Harmon joins UVM from the U.S. Premier Hockey League’s Jersey Hitmen, where he was named the league’s Goaltender of the Year after posting a .922 save percentage and 22 wins last season. Before that, he spent four years at Ramsey High school in New Jersey where he was a multi-sport athlete, playing as a standout goalie for the hockey team (posting a .948 save percentage his senior year) and a star attacker for the lacrosse team (posting 35 goals and 29 assists his senior year). At 6 feet 3 inches, he adds height to UVM’s goaltending corps.


Matt Beck, Goaltender

Beck also comes to UVM from the USPHL, spending last season with the Philadelphia Flyers Elite, where he posted a .905 save percentage. Before that, he spent four years at Fairfield College Preparatory School in Connecticut, twice leading the Jesuits to the state championship.


Cory Thomas, Defenseman

Thomas comes to UVM from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers. As a rookie in the 2015-16 season, he was named to the SJHL’s All-Rookie team. He posted 10 points for the Bombers last season and represented Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. He will play a crucial role for his size, standing at 6 feet 5 inches.


Brian Kelly, Defenseman

Joining UVM from the Connecticut Jr. Rangers of the USPHL, Kelly posted 14 points in 32 games last season. Before the Jr. Rangers, he played four years at the Kent School in Connecticut. He is a “smart, puck-moving defenseman,” associate head coach Kyle Wallack said.


Owen Grant, Defenseman

Grant comes to UVM after three years at the Central Canada Hockey League’s Carleton Place Canadians, where he won three CCHL titles. Grant also appeared in two Royal Bank Cups, the national championship for Canadian Junior A clubs, including an appearance in the 2015 finals. These important games helped Grant transition to the college level.

“Learning to play in those important games is huge because every game here matters,” Grant said. “The more you learn to play under pressure, the easier it is to continue.”

He also represented Canada East at two World Junior A Challenges, earning a spot on the tournament’s All-Star Team in 2016. Grant was also named CCHL Defender of the Year as well as a First-Team All-Star. He describes his style as “a two-way defenseman who takes pride in the defensive zone and helps move the puck up the ice.”


Christian Evers, Defenseman

Evers spent the last two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars, posting 18 points in both seasons. Evers switched his commitment last season after originally committing to the University of North Dakota.

“Vermont was a better fit for me,” Evers said. “Not ragging on North Dakota – they’re a great program – but for my own development I felt Vermont was a better fit.”

Before Lincoln, Evers played for the United States National Team Development Program for two seasons and won a gold medal at the 2014 World U17 Hockey Challenge.

“It’s the top 25-26 kids in your age group, and it’s definitely an honor to wear the USA on your chest every day,” he said. “Being able to represent your country internationally is an honor.”

Evers describes himself as a two-way defenseman and said he feels his game compliments that of his defense partner, sophomore defenseman Matt O’Donnell.


Vlad Dzhioshvili, Forward

Hailing from the Russian capital of Moscow, Vlad Dzhioshvili is the first European to play for UVM men’s hockey since Tobias Nilsson Roos ‘13, a Swede, who suited up for UVM in 2013. Dzhioshvili previously played for the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder, leading the team in scoring with 42 points last season. Before the Thunder, Dzhioshvili played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights program. He possesses a strong shot and the versatility to play center or wing. He will have to wait to make his official UVM debut, however, as he suffered a lower body injury in practice.


Ace Cowans, Forward

A small but quick forward, Ace Cowans joins UVM following an injury-riddled season with the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks, posting 12 points in 27 games. Before that, he posted 52 points in the 2015-16 season with the USPHL’s Islanders Hockey Club and spent time at Groton School in Massachusetts, where he posted 109 points over his final two seasons. He possesses strong speed, stickhandling skills and a high hockey IQ.


Max Kaufman, Forward

Kaufman comes from the British Columbia Hockey League’s Langley Rivermen, where he posted 106 points over his two regular seasons. Before that, he played at Kent School in Connecticut, where he was teammates with Kelly, and also played two years at Pittsford High School in New York, named the Greater Rochester Player of the Year in 2011-12 by the Democrat and Chronicle.


Marty Frechette, Forward

Like Cowans and Kaufman, Marty Frechette brings speed, hockey IQ and skill to the team. He comes to UVM after four years with the CCHL’s Cumberland Grads, boasting a 36 goal season in the 2015-16 season, which earned him a spot on the CCHL Second All-Star Team.


Alex Esposito, Forward

Alex Esposito joins the Catamounts from the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms, where he put up 59 points over the last two seasons. Prior to that, he played three years at the Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut, leading the team in scoring in the 2014-15 season. Esposito describes himself as a player who does the dirty work, saying he’s “not flashy” and “does anything the coaches or team asks [him] to do,” according to a Sep. 18, 2016 Youngstown Tribune Chronicle article.


Bryce Misley, Forward

A center from the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Oakville Blades, Bryce Misley comes in with the biggest pedigree of this class, having been drafted in the NHL Entry Draft this summer by the Minnesota Wild.

“It was a dream come true,” Misley said. “I know I have a lot of work to do to get there, but it was one of my goals.”

Last season with the Blades, Misley posted 62 points in just 46 games. He was also teammates with Grant at the Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge.

Misley describes himself as a playmaking center who can be dependable in the defensive zone and makes plays offensively.