Building on Superb Debut Season for PU Men’s Hockey, Gorman Skated in NHL Development Camp with Vegas
VIVA LAS VEGAS: Brendan Gorman streaks up the ice last winter in his freshman season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. Gorman made an immediate impact in his debut campaign, tallying 20 points on five goals and 15 assists to lead all Tiger freshmen in points and tie Ian Murphy for the team lead in assists. This July, Gorman took part in an NHL Development Camp with the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
For Brendan Gorman, joining the Princeton University men’s hockey team last winter was something he had been looking forward to for years.
“My dad was throwing on the Princeton jersey and stuff when we were younger,” said Gorman, whose father, Sean ’91, was a star and a captain for the Tigers. “Ever since I was like really young it was my dream to go to Princeton. My brother (Liam) committed to BU first but ended up going to Princeton. That kind of sealed the deal, playing with my brother and going to my dream school.”
The younger Gorman showed his stuff last winter, tallying 20 points on five goals and 15 assists to lead all Tiger freshmen in points and tie Ian Murphy for the team lead in assists.
“I didn’t do juniors so I went straight from high school,” said forward Gorman, a 6’0, 175-pound native of Arlington, Mass. “Everybody was a little bit bigger and stronger and faster. Other than that, I didn’t think it was too crazy.”
Playing with his brother, senior star Liam, was a big plus for Gorman. The two skated on the same line for most of the season.
“It was awesome, I kind of just looked to him with anything I needed,” said Gorman of his brother, who produced a superb senior season, posting career-high in points (22), goals (12), and assists (10). “It was mostly off the ice, but on the ice too. I dreamed of going there with him; living it has been really cool.”
In late October, Gorman made an awesome start to his college career, scoring a second period goal in the season-opening loss 4-2 to Harvard.
“It was 100 percent a confidence builder and that led to more confidence and making plays that had to be made,” said Gorman. “My speed and my shot are my strengths.”
Over the course of the winter, Gorman kept making plays, emerging as a bright spot for the Tigers.
“I would say my overall game improved; defensively in high school, it is kind of just do what you want and go at the guy whoever is closest to you,” said Gorman. “In college, it is a whole new story. We have systems, it is more thinking. You have got to think the game more.”
The Tigers showed improvement collectively, producing an encouraging 9-6 stretch in the middle of the season as they finished with an overall record of 13-19. In assessing the squad’s progress, Gorman pointed to a positive team chemistry.
“We were really close,” said Gorman, noting the seniors took the freshmen under their wing. “We were bonding — the communication with the coaches was good. We were all together in it 100 percent. I think we are going make a huge jump this season.”
This summer, Gorman jumped at the chance to skate at an NHL Development Camp with the Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights.
“After one of the games I talked to one of the Vegas scouts and that carried over,” recalled Gorman. “We were in contact at the end of the year. They said, ‘We would like to have you in our camp this summer.’ I thought about it for a little bit and I decided to go with that.”
The camp was held at City National Arena in a Las Vegas suburb during the first week of July and the players were kept busy.
“It was cool — we would wake up at 7 and would have breakfast at 8,” said Gorman. “It was different each day. We had two teams, so one team would look at a video first thing while the other team skated or worked out. We only had two scrimmages but we skated every day at 1 o’clock.”
Skating against a high-level group of players, Gorman believed he fit in well.
“There was some guys from the ECAC, some Boston College guys, some junior guys, and there was pro guys from the AHL,” said Gorman. “They were all really good, it was really good competition. I think it was more like a confidence thing. These are some of the best players around and going in and feeling like you hold your own, you gain that belief that you belong and you can do it.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Gorman is determined to help the Tigers to do some big things.
“My goal is to win an ECAC Hockey championship,” said Gorman, who trained with Boston-area teammates Jack Cronin and Murphy earlier in the summer. “I want to take a huge step, I am not worried about my points or anything. I want to have a big role, to be a leader and communicate with my teammates as best as I can and just take huge steps off the ice and on the ice.”