ECAC Hockey Tournament: Freshman Carr playing beyond expectations (with photo gallery, team videos)

Union standout Daniel Carr has 20 goals in his first season; also, interviews with coach Nate Leaman

When Union coach Nate Leaman recruited Daniel Carr, he expected the forward from Sherwood Park, Alberta, to be a consistent goal scorer.

In his first season with the Dutchmen, Carr has lived up to Leaman’s expectation, and then some.

Carr has had an outstanding freshman season for the Dutchmen, and is one of the reasons they captured their first ECAC Hockey regular season-championship. The fourth-ranked Dutchmen will host Colgate in the ECACH tournament best-of-three quarterfinal series starting Friday at 7 p.m. at Messa Rink.

Game 2 will be Saturday at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Carr has already tied two records and set another. He is the second freshman, and third player overall, in Union’s 20-year Division I era to score 20 goals. He closed out the regular season with a two-goal effort in the Dutchmen’s 5-0 win over Princeton Feb. 27, giving him 20 goals and tying Chris Ford for most goals by a freshman.

“You don’t expect a season like that coming in,” the 19-year-old Carr said. “I think it had a lot to do with the older guys helping everyone out. For a younger guy like me coming in, that first month and before Christmas, all the older guys helping you out, showing what you need to do, where you need to be on the ice and how little time you have with the puck.

“That was a big thing in the first month, doing the skill sessions, the older guys helping you out and showing you what you need to do, and where you need to be to make plays and what you need to do to make plays. That was a big help.”

Carr also tied Ford for most points by a Union freshman with 35. Ford set the marks in the 1993-94 season.

The only other Union Division I player to score over 20 goals is Mario Valery-Trabucco, who tallied a team-record 23 last season.

“That’s exactly what we expected [Carr] to be, actually,” Leaman said. “We were looking for a guy to replace Mario, basically. We didn’t think it would happen this quick. It took Mario until his senior year to score 23 goals, and Dan has 20 in his freshman year.

Carr has been a force on the power play, scoring 12 goals. That’s a team Division I record, surpassing the nine Ford scored his freshman year. Carr is a co-leader for most power-play goals in the nation with Colorado College’s Tyler Johnson, Wisconsin’s. Jordy Murray and New Hampshire’s Paul Thompson.

Leaman is pleased with Carr’s work ethic.

“We knew he had the stick, and we knew he had the head for the game,” Leaman said. “Any guy that comes in at this level, you’re not completely sure on their work ethic. We’ve been impressed with him.”

Carr opened his college career in grand style. He had a goal and three assists in Union’s season-opening 9-0 win over Sacred Heart on

Oct. 8, then had a hat trick in the Dutchmen’s 6-2 victory over Army Dec. 11.

Carr has never gone more than three games without scoring a goal.

“You’ve got to keep working at it,” Carr said. “It’s got to be one of those things where you keep striving to get better. That’s one of those things where the coaches are always on you [about] you’ve got to keep getting better.”

Carr came to Union from the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League. Acquired in a trade with the St. Albert Steel of the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the 2009-10 season, Carr produced 10 goals and 17 assists. In the playoffs, Carr was the Kings’ top goal scorer with 15 in 23 games, and finished third in team scoring with 26. He had a team-best nine power-play goals.

Before going to Powell River, Carr had 67 goals and 69 assists in 136 career games.

“We saw Dan play in a summer tournament in Boston [in 2009],” Leaman said. “I thought he was the best player in the tournament. I thought he thought the game really well, and had a good stick.”

It’s Carr’s shot that is impressive. He has a hard, quick shot, and it’s very effective. Goalies have a difficult time stopping the puck.

“That’s one thing [associate head] coach [Rick] Bennett’s really worked with me on this year,” Carr said. “Not necessarily being hard, but getting it off quick. When you get it off quicker, the less time a goalie has to set.”

Forward Jeremy Welsh, who centers a line with Carr on the left wing, said Carr has a strange shooting style.

“I’d say he has a weird release,” Welsh said. “I haven’t seen anything like it. I wouldn’t say it’s quick. He loads it up, but the way his stick flexes, it comes off his stick a lot harder than you expect it to. It almost looks effortless, in a way.”

Carr knows he has to continue to work hard. If he does that, the goals and points will continue to come.

“It comes hand in hand,” Carr said. “When you’re out there and keep your feet moving and you’re finishing your checks, that’s when you get the puck a lot more, and that’s when you get those good chances to score. When you’re not working hard, that’s when you get in slumps.”


Union freshman defenseman Mat Bodie has been named a finalist for ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, it was announced Wednesday.

Bodie had three goals and 10 assists in conference play, which tied for fourth among all

defenders and tied for eighth in the league among all rookies.

Overall, Bodie has five goals and 24 assists. His 29 points ties Mike Schreiber for most points by a Union defenseman in the Division I era.

The other finalists are Princeton’s Andrew Calof and St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey.

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