UMass freshman Austin Plevy not overthinking memorable debut



Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2015

AMHERST — Not long after Austin Plevy learned to skate did he start scoring goals.

The freshman from Langley, British Columbia, scored in youth hockey and junior hockey. If the UMass freshman wasn’t a scorer in college, that would have been surprising.

But scoring a hat trick in his debut and the game-winner in Game 2 was more than anyone had hoped for.

Plevy was at the center of the considerable positive attention that has greeted the Minutemen after their season-opening two-game sweep of Colorado College, Friday and Saturday. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward was named Hockey East Co-Rookie of the Week for his efforts and one of his three goals Friday — a nifty individual effort where he stepped around a defenseman and beat the goalie with a backhand flip — was named the NCAA’s national play of the week.

“I wanted to be able to help the team offensively. I think that’s a strong suit of my game and what I came here to do. I didn’t think it would be so quick. It’s pretty cool to get all the awards, but the most important thing is getting the wins right now,” said Plevy, who was wearing a black Toronto Blue Jays hat over his long hockey hair to support his favorite team in the playoffs. “It was my first college game, which was exciting. I have a little bit of confidence. I knew I was going to be in a pretty good position to show myself early. I’m just glad I could do my best and help the team win.”

Plevy originally committed to and enrolled at Merrimack, but left school before practiced started last September and returned to junior hockey. It initially looked like he’d have to sit out a year as a transfer. But as it turned out, Merrimack never processed his National Letter of Intent with the NCAA and because he never played or practiced he was free to reopen his recruiting after returning to junior hockey.

Plevy amassed 29 goals and 63 assists for the Brooks Bandits and led the Alberta Junior Hockey League in scoring. He picked the Minutemen over several other schools for the chance to make an impact early in his career.

“When I was being recruited they wanted me to come in and be a top guy. That’s definitely a reason why I came,” he said. “I knew I’d have an opportunity early. I knew I had to make the best of them to keep getting these opportunities. I’m really happy I could do that this weekend.”

UMass coach John Micheletto wasn’t surprised at Plevy’s fast start.

“It validates what he did in his junior career and what we saw recruiting him,” Micheletto said. “It also shows you how good a club we have. The variety of players involved in the scoring show the depth of our team in the early going. Certainly Austin is going to be a big, big part of it.”

Micheletto wasn’t worried about Plevy, 20, getting overconfident, noting that being an older freshman helped with his maturity.

“He’s very modest. He has great perspective. He’s been through different experiences,” Micheletto said. “Like a lot of the freshman we have, he’s not young.”

Senior Shane Walsh, who had three goals and two assists this weekend, said the Minutemen have been impressed not only with how Plevy played, but how he carried himself.

“Austin is a confident player. He knows what kind of skill he has and what he can bring to the table,” Walsh said. “I wouldn’t say he expected to score a hat trick his first game, but it’s nice to see that demeanor and that kind of swagger out of the freshmen. Austin handled it really well. He’s a great player. I expect a lot of the same moving forward.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage


 


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