Making the jump from prep school hockey to junior hockey can be a challenging step in a player’s career. Junior hockey players can be older, bigger, stronger and faster than prep school talents.
But Union recruit Brett Supinski has handled that leap just fine. After a stellar prep career with the Millbrook School, Supinski made the jump to juniors when he joined the British Columbia Hockey League’s Coquitlam Express last offseason.
|Supinski after recording a hat trick last Friday against the|
photo credit: Damon James
"He's one of those guys that doesn't look like an overall strong threat," Express head coach Barry Wolff said of the 6-foot, 165-pounder. "But then it finds his stick and he finds the back of the net. Some guys just have that knack and he definitely has it."
Supinski, who will join Union next season, credits linemates like Brendan Lamont and Ferris State recruit Corey Mackin for his success this season.
"I've had good linemates all year and we just clicked from the start," he said.
Supinski, a native of Collegeville, Pa., isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as the season progresses. He’s riding an eight-game goal scoring streak, and he’s piled up 13 goals and eight assists during that span. His latest tear also includes his second and third hat tricks of the season, one of which was a four-goal effort.
"He's finding the holes and his linemates are finding him," said Wolff. "He's looking to shoot more than he's looking to pass whereas earlier he was looking to pass a little more. He's realizing 'Hey, if I do shoot, I can score.' They're just going in for him."
Despite gaudy numbers that might suggest Supinski is simply too good for the BCHL, he said it was never on the table to join Union right out of Millbrook. He needed the year of junior hockey and added the experience has been beneficial.
"It's definitely made me a better player," said Supinski, who was also recruited by a couple other ECAC Hockey and Hockey East programs. "We're playing hockey everyday and just getting better on the ice. Skill-wise and hockey-wise, it's given me a higher hockey IQ. It's a tougher level of hockey and it's going to make the jump to college that much easier."
The year with the Express has also given him time to hone the defensive side of the game.
"He's worked hard at becoming a more defensive player and knowing he has to play both ends of the rink," Wolff said. "With 28 players on the roster [in college], you have to do both ends. It's something we've tried to get after him on, and he's really improved in that regard. He's been a great two-way player for us."
Wolff said it was evident early on this season that Supinski might be a special talent. His first goal came just under seven minutes into the team's first regular season game. His first hat trick occurred in the team's seventh game and he scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the final minutes of the third period that day.
"Some of those prep school kids can't handle [the BCHL]," Wolff said. "It's a daily thing. We play a lot more games. There's travel and it's a tougher schedule. But he rose to the challenge and has never looked back."