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03-29-2013, 04:01 PM
garret9's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver
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From Goalie Guild's breakdown of the NCAA:
UMASS-LOWELL Ė Connor Hellebuyck: Itís rare to see an NAHL goaltender get inserted directly into the lineup of an NCAA D1 program, but both Anthony Stolarz (now in the OHL) and Hellebuyck completed that feat this season. A draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, Hellebuyck was named the Tournament MVP after leading the River Hawks to a Hockey East title.

Hellebuyck enters the tournament with an 18-2-0 record, plus an NCAA-leading .949 SV%. He was second in GAA (1.38) only to Ryan McKay. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Connor brings an intimidating frame to the crease, and his confidence level reinforces that intimidation factor.

Like Wilcox in Minnesota, Connor settled into the starterís role after just a few games and never looked back. Connor lost his NCAA debut to DU by allowing five goals on 28 shots, and after more than a month between starts, went on a rampage and pitched shutouts in two of his next three starts.

If thereís one area of Connorís game that has vastly improved since his final games with the Odessa Jackalopes, it would be his skating. Less than a year ago, he relied too much on his size to take away time and space from a shooter, but rebound control and staying upright to make secondary saves was an area of concern.

But over the course of this season, scouts have pointed to his improved footwork as a big reason why heís now looking at a chance to lead the River Hawks to an NCAA title.

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