Consistent centre leading way
There isn’t a lot of razzle-dazzle to Greg Fraser’s game, but nevertheless, he’s caught the eye of the B.C. Hockey League.
Fraser is the BCHL Player of the Week after a pair of two-point games in the Interior helped his Nanaimo Clippers earn back-to-back wins.
“It’s nice that he’s gotten recognized with that honour…” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach. “He’s been a good, consistent player. I’m not sure if this week was any better than some of the other weeks he’s had.”
The four points boosted Fraser into the team scoring lead, with 14 goals and 31 assists for 45 points in 42 games.
“It’s always nice to be part of a goal. It’s who you play with,” he said. “You need guys who can put the puck in the net when you’re an assist guy … I’ve been lucky enough to play with those type of guys and it’s been working out for me this year.”
He was part of Nanaimo’s top scoring line earlier in the season with Kyle Kramer and Michael McNicholas, but the lines have been shaken up with the team’s spate of injuries and now Fraser is finding chemistry with Matt Grant and Mason Mitchell.
“We haven’t been trying to over-complicate anything and we’ve been working well together,” Fraser said.
The 20-year-old from Nanaimo chose to come home for his last year of junior after four seasons with the Prince George Cougars. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound centre wasn’t a front-line offensive player in the WHL, with a career-best 17 goals and 29 points in 2010-11, but Vandekamp said he knew Fraser had good offensive talent.
“It comes down to the amount of opportunity that he was given and the role that he was given,” Vandekamp said. “Probably here it’s been an increased role from an offensive standpoint that’s helped him. We knew he’d be able to handle that.”
Fraser said earlier this season he was a little surprised with his offensive numbers, but since then he’s grown more comfortable in that role.
Still, the points are only one part of his game. He plays the penalty kill and the power play, he can push people around and he wins faceoffs.
“He’s at his best when he’s really hard-working and physical and engaged in the game that way,” said the coach. “I don’t think he’s a real flashy, fancy kind of guy. When he focuses on playing the game with good habits is when he gets his best results.”
Those results keep coming consistently for Fraser, even when he’s playing hurt. It should be noted that he was too injured to practise all last week, but come game time, he managed to be player-of-the-week calibre.
“You can’t change the way you play because you’ve got a little bit of a sore shoulder or a sore knee or whatever,” he said. “There’s always ice after the game that you can just throw on there.”
GAME ON … The Clippers play the Cowichan Valley Capitals tonight (Feb. 8) at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, and will face off again tomorrow in a rematch in Duncan at 7:15 p.m. at the Island Savings Centre … For a preview of those games, please click here.