Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gervais emerges as a star

Looking at his playing history, Bryce Gervais has always been a goal scorer. After graduating high school, the Battleford, Sask. native went on to play in the tier II junior A British Columbia Hockey League for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. 

In his first season with Salmon Arm, Gervais posted 29 goals and 51 points in 58 games, then improved the next season to a BCHL leading 42 goals to go along with 33 assists in a season split between Salmon Arm and the Penticton Vees. After winning the RBC Cup as the Canadian National Champions with the Vees, Gervais headed south to Mankato, Minn. to play his college hockey in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

As a rookie for Minnesota State University, Mankato, Gervais played in all 41 games for the Mavericks, posting eight goals and five assists, respectable numbers for a freshman. In his sophomore season in 2013-2014, Gervais emerged as one of the top guns for MSU, and was playing his best hockey at the end of the season. 

"One thing I try to do before every game is focus on what makes me good," said Gervais. "Usually if I’m playing physical and with speed I can get to the puck faster which creates more offense."

After posting eight points in the first 25 games of his sophomore campaign, Gervais got hot and scored 11 goals and 18 points over the final 16 games of the season to double his goal production from his freshman season, and ended up with 16 goals and 26 points on the year.

With his breakout sophomore season, the expectations for Gervais to produce this season were higher than they were a year ago, and he has lived up to, if not exceeded those expectations as his success over the second half of last season has carried over into this season.

Ten games into the season, Gervais ranks first in not just the WCHA, but the NCAA in points scored with 14. His nine goals have him tied for first in the nation with Bowling Green's Kevin Dufour, and his four power play goals are also tied for first in the country. Consistency has been the theme for Gervais so far this season, as he has been held pointless in just two games, but has yet to be held pointless in a series.

After recording his first career hat-trick in a Maverick sweater two weekends ago at Bowling Green, Gervais was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. He carried that success into this past weekend when he had a four-point game on Friday night versus Bemidji on two goals and two assists. 

Gervais isn't just a goal scorer, though. On Saturday night versus Bemidji State, Gervais saw big minutes on the penalty kill, and set the screen for two of Teddy Blueger's three goals. He also assisted
Gervais tallying his second goal of the night on Friday against
Bemidji State.
on one of Blueger's goals, helping his linemate earn his first career hat-trick.

Watching him play, it's easy to see Gervais' game is built on speed and tenacity. His greatest asset is perhaps the ability to get into the gritty areas and find himself open.

"I try to find open spaces," said Gervais. "If I’m not open I try to get open. It also helps when you’re playing with some really skilled play-makers like Matt Leitner or Teddy Blueger, they always seem to get you the puck."

While his quick start this season will keep him on the radar of college hockey fans and opposing coaches, Gervais is trying to keep his attention on getting the Mavericks further in the postseason. So how can the Mavericks do that?

"Winning our league," said Gervais. "Making it to the NCAA tournament and not only making it but winning a few hockey games while we're there which would push us to our ultimate goal,the Frozen Four."

While the season is still young and there is plenty of hockey left to play, Gervais has established himself as one of the top players in the WCHA this season, and also one of the best in the NCAA.

1 comment:

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