Griffs led by elite offense; Large commends McLaughlin’s offseason development

 

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Dylan McLaughlin is the Griffs’ leading scorer and leads the conference in scoring this season. (John McCreary/Champion City Sports)

 

By Adam Duke

Assistant Sports Editor

Leading all Griffs in goals, assists, and shots this season, junior forward Dylan McLaughlin has once again found himself as the team’s frontrunner in offensive production.

“He loves hockey. Period,” said head coach Trevor Large. “When you ask Dyl, ‘How was practice today?’ He loves it. He loves the things that are quote-unquote ‘fun’ in the hockey world, where you’re doing shooting drills and skill drills.”

McLaughlin started playing hockey sometime between the ages of three and five after he learned to skate. “My dad played growing up, his whole life, and same with my brother, so we came from a hockey family, for sure,” he said.

In 2016-17, McLaughlin was one of nine skaters to have appeared in all 39 of Canisius’ games. His freshman year, he was one of just four to have done so. Last season, McLaughlin ranked seventh in the Atlantic Hockey Conference in power-play points. In late January, he was Atlantic Hockey’s Player of the Week and NCAA.com’s first star of the week. He led Canisius skaters in goals (14) and assists (19). This year, he has scored eight goals on 49 shots in addition to having 13 assists.

He said his favorite memories from Canisius hockey, other than playing in the postseason, have been made hanging out with his team on the road.

“We had some cool trips last year going to Alaska, North Dakota,” he said. “All that kind of stuff’s pretty cool.”

His freshman year, during the 2015-16 campaign, he was also named AHC’s player of the week, twice, and was the NCAA’s Third Star of the Week in mid-February. He also scored his first game-winning goal in a postseason elimination game against Niagara. McLaughlin also placed 22nd nationally among freshmen with 26 points.

Before Canisius, McLaughlin played four seasons for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League. He said that since he’s been here he’s learned from both players and coaches.

“You can learn stuff from all these guys,” said McLaughlin. “Seniors who have been here before, coaches who know what they’re talking about, so we have a good group of coaches and leaders for sure.”

Large stated his admiration for McLaughlin’s work ethic, including his development from this past offseason. He mentioned that over the summer, McLaughlin worked to improve his skating, which he has been able to showcase in games.

“He was always a very good skater, but now he’s become an elite skater,” said Large. “That skating ability for him has allowed his east-west skating ability to come out. It’s very obvious how it’s helped our team because when you watch us on the power play, you watch us 5-on-5, his ability to create offense is elite.”

McLaughlin, a Lancaster, N.Y. native, said he came to Canisius, not only because he lived locally, but also because of the work being done downtown, specifically HARBORCENTER, as well as Canisius’ ability to bring in good players. “I was excited to come here,” he said.

Large reiterated his point from last week when he discussed fellow junior teammate Jimmy Mazza, saying that the juniors are stepping up to “bring guys with them.” He said that because of McLaughlin’s enthusiasm for harder drills that involve greater competition, small games during practice, and each individual aspect of the game of hockey, he has been able to translate that love into leadership. Large also said that his love for the game aided in his own development, as he does everything with a smile.

“I’ve just got to be myself and lead by example and just do what I can on and off the ice,” said McLaughlin.

Large also said that McLaughlin is becoming more of a presence off the ice as well.

“Dylan’s low-key, he’s a very low-key person,” said Large. “He’s not going to give you a ton, but as his time here goes on, he’s opening up more. He’s sharing more, his quirky sense of humor is coming out, and he’s getting very comfortable in the environment that we have here. For him, that just leads to on-ice because whenever I see Dylan, he’s got a big smile on his face.”

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