Matt Gaudreau Working His Way Out of Johnny’s Shadow

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December 26, 2012 by conteconfidential

It’s hard for Guy Gaudreau to believe that it’s been almost three years since his Gloucester Catholic Rams went to the New Jersey state finals for the first time.

Led by his sons, the Rams made it to the 2010 NJSIAA/Devils Non-Public boy’s ice hockey championship in only their sixth year as a varsity program. Johnny, then a junior, and Matt, then a freshman, generated much of the Rams’ offense.

“They created a lot of scoring opportunities,” Guy said. “They made a huge difference to that team.”

Since the Rams’ loss to Delbarton, Johnny has won a USHL Clark Cup Championship with the Dubuque Fighting Saints and a National Championship with the Boston College Eagles. Right now, he’s in Ufa, Russia trying to add an IIHF World Junior Championship to his resume.

Matt played another year for Gloucester Catholic before moving on to the USHL. Last year, he tallied eight goals and 14 assists in 52 games for the Omaha Lancers. A BC recruit, he watched his older brother rack in awards and accolades and felt the pressure on him mounting.

“It’s hard for him because he’s always compared to John,” Guy said. “He’s not the same kind of player, and most players can’t play like John.”

While Johnny can take control of a game because of his flashy playmaking ability and uncanny creativity, Matt’s influence is more subtle. He prides himself for being defensively responsible and is more of a setup man on offense, feeding the finishers like he did Johnny with the Rams.

“John’s more of a skilled and crafty player,” Matt said. “Once in awhile, I can get a move off or something, but I’m more of a two-way player.”

Guy likened Matt to BC captain Pat Mullane because Matt is a hard worker who can chip in on offense and will do things that don’t always get noticed. He’s willing to block shots, throw his weight around and come back hard on the backcheck, whatever it takes to help the team win.

“I always enjoyed having Matt on the team more than John,” Guy said. “He’s more of a complete player, even if that doesn’t translate to being a superstar.”

This year, Matt has been limited to 21 games because he sustained an injury early in the season. When he returned to the Lancers’ lineup, it took him some time to get up to game speed. He has since worked his way back onto the powerplay and penalty kill units, and he consistently plays on one of the top two lines.

He has tallied one goal and six assists so far and is hoping to have a big second half now that he’s completely recovered from his injury, which hindered his ability to shoot the puck.

The Gaudreaus won’t know until June if Matt will join Johnny at BC next season. The class of 2017 is very deep and talented, especially at forward with recruits like Ryan Fitzgerald and Evan Richardson expected to make an immediate impact.

There may be a scholarship available for Matt or there may not. Guy said that he trusts head coach Jerry York’s judgment after watching Johnny develop into an elite player in his program.

As for Matt, he plans on continuing to hone his game in Omaha so that he’s ready for the next level and all of the expectations that will come with being Johnny’s little brother.

“It’s a big step for me,” Matt said. “I’ll have to prove that I’m just as good as him.”

By Jen Dobias

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