BostonBruins.com — Florida is not typically known as a hotbed for developing hockey players.
Straight out of Florida, though, came Brian Ferlin.
The Boston Bruins prospect, drafted in 2011 (4th round, 121st overall), became the first native of Jacksonville to be selected in an NHL Entry Draft.
Ferlin would then leave his hometown to play college hockey in much colder upstate New York.
But the increased level of competition and lower temperatures in Ithaca did nothing to slow down the 6-foot-2 power forward in his freshman campaign at Cornell.
Playing against top-level NCAA talent in ECAC, Ferlin posted a line of 8-13=21 in 26 games for the Big Red.
“It’s obviously much more difficult in terms of, you have to be pretty dedicated growing up playing hockey in Florida,” Ferlin said of his youth experience. “There’s a lot of travel.
“I’m from Jacksonville, and most of my AAA hockey I played for a team in Fort Myers, which is about a five hour drive from my house.”
There’s plenty of travel in the ECAC as well, and Ferlin’s impact as a freshman was registered in rinks around North America.
An imposing player, Ferlin posted 30 penalty minutes, and a plus-15 rating in his first season. His size and grit allow him to incorporate a bruising, “hard to play against style,” one that the Bruins and Assistant GM Don Sweeney will welcome in the Black & Gold ranks.
“Brian’s overall game is still emerging, as to what’s he’s going to be as a finished product remains to be seen,” Sweeney said. “He has elements of a power-forward type of game that we would like him to utilize even more as well as be a little more selfish in areas like taking his shot opportunities as opposed to looking to make the extra play."
And it wasn’t only Sweeney and the B’s brass that took notice of Ferlin’s exploits. For his efforts, Ferlin was twice named the ECAC Rookie of the Week, and eventually won both the Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year awards.
Still, even with the recognition and new hardware, Sweeney said Ferlin might have been squeezing his stick a little as the puck dropped on his sophomore season.
“I think he put a little bit of pressure on himself after piling up last year's accolades, being Ivy League Rookie of the Year and having a real strong freshman season, and it’s a tough league,” Sweeney said. “Sometimes you get back, and you think things are just going to roll forward, and it doesn’t always happen that way, and you have to adjust, and reset your goals to be more short term and live in the moment so to speak rather than look too far ahead.”
“[In] our conversations with him, he’s taking a little bit of that pressure off himself, and is staying more in the game to game focus and I hope his success this past weekend will jumpstart him.”
Maybe it was the warm weather of his home state that reignited Ferlin’s fire, but playing in the Florida College Classic, Ferlin was able to find his scoring touch.
In a win versus Ferris State College, the sophomore registered his first two goals of the season, and added an assist, marking his first multi-goal game at Cornell, and matching a career high for a single game with three points.
“I had a pretty big crowd at the games with my family and friends and all that,” Ferlin said. “It might have been a little extra motivation, but I’ve been working hard all year and not finishing when I had chances, and I kind of just put a couple in there.”
The Big Red, already playing at a high level, will welcome the production from one of its most skilled players.
Ranked 12th in the nation the latest USCHO Division 1 poll, Cornell (7-4-2) is finding ways to win. However, sitting fourth in the ECAC, and with sights set on a national championship, both Cornell and Ferlin know there is plenty of hockey left to be played.
“We kind of break our season up in two halves, and we had a little bit of a slip up through the middle of the first half, but we finished up on a good note with three wins before break,” Ferlin said. “We want to win our league. We want to win the regular season and win the tournament, so we can get an automatic bid.
“We’re just taking it week-by-week, and trying to get better every week.
“We know we have a good team,” added Ferlin. “So, we know what we’re capable of when we’re playing at our.
“We’re just trying to get to our max-potential by the end of the season.”
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