Union recruit named MVP of tournament
Toronto Lakeshore Patriots forward and Union College hockey recruit Kevin Shier isn’t satisfied.
He isn’t content that he led his team to the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Backlund Cup title. Nor is he bragging that he was named the most valuable player of the OJHL playoffs after being the top scorer in the postseason with eight goals and 24 assists.
For the 20-year-old Shier, there are more goals to be accomplished, like helping the Patriots win the Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament, which begins Tuesday. If the Patriots win that, they would go on to the Royal Bank Cup tournament, which determines the champion of Canadian Junior “A” hockey.
And, personally, Shier realizes he needs to improve his game.
“I’m trying to round out my game a little more,” Shier said. “Mostly, the MVP was based on points. To compete at the D-I level, I’m definitely going to have to round out my game. I’m going to have to play without the puck, and have to improve on the little details. But winning the MVP award does help my confidence.”
Playing better defensively is something Patriots coach Jason Fortier has stressed to Shier.
“He was one of the kids that was more concerned not just about the offensive side, but trying to become a smarter player,” Fortier said. “Maybe learn a different system and play the way the coaches ask him, not so much just instincts. He still has some things to go, but he’s improving in a lot of different areas, not just the offensive side.
Fortier was impressed with Shier’s performance in the playoffs. The Patriots clinched the Backlund Cup title last Sunday with a 3-1 win over the Aurora Tigers in Game 6. Shier had an assist in the game.
“For him, [winning the MVP] is a great honor,” Fortier said. “As a team, our main goal was to win the championship. You’re not going to win championships without individuals stepping up their performance. He was a front-line leader from day one all season long. He was looked at to provide a little bit more offense at times, and he stepped up when we needed him.”
Shier, who was the Patriots’ third-leading scorer during the regular season with 21 goals and 33 assists in 46 games, got to watch most of Union’s NCAA tournament games. He saw how well the Dutchmen played defensively and their attention to detail in the defensive zone.
“Seeing them win the national championship was pretty incredible.” Shier said. “Just how fast the pace was and how good every player was top to bottom was incredible, to be honest. That does give me a little extra motivation in the summer for the offseason training. I’m really excited.”
Ammirato still playing
Another Dutchmen recruit who is coming in next season is still alive in the playoffs.
Roman Ammirato and his Amarillo Bulls rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to tie the Topeka Road Runners, 2-2, in their North American Hockey League best-of-five South Division final series. The Bulls won, 5-2, Saturday. The deciding game is today.
Ammirato is the second-leading scorer in the postseason with three goals and seven assists in seven games. He was the team’s fourth-leading scorer during the regular season with 17 goals and 30 assists in 57 games.