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Eddy, Grizzlies head to Showcase in high gear

Oh what a difference two years makes. As a rookie in 2019, Connor Eddy was a decent fourth-liner in the Victoria Grizzlies lineup finishing with four goals in 45 games.
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Grizzlies forward Connor Eddy has four goals and 10 assists in his first five games this season. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Oh what a difference two years makes.

As a rookie in 2019, Connor Eddy was a decent fourth-liner in the Victoria Grizzlies lineup finishing with four goals in 45 games.

Fast forward to 2021 and the speedy Eddy has been ­racking up points like no one else in the B.C. Hockey League and not coincedently so have the ­Grizzlies as they take a perfect 5-0 record into this week’s BCHL Showcase at the Chilliwack ­Coliseum.

Eddy heads into tonight’s game in Chilliwack against the Prince George Spruce Kings (4-1) leading the league in ­scoring with 14 points in the first five games. That’s one more point than he had in his first two ­seasons combined with the ­Grizzlies, granted last season was just 20 games due to the pandemic.

“I’m a little surpised with the point total,” said Eddy, who has four goals and 10 assists.

“I mean, to have more points than the other two seasons combined is a little wild, but I worked hard in the summer to get faster and stronger, and when you play with the teammates I’ve been playing with this season, it’s hard not to get points.”

Those teammates Eddy speaks of are, more specifically, linemates Matthew Wood and Ellis Rickwood. Wood, the 16-year-old expected to go in the first round of the 2023 NHL draft, and Rickwood, the Grizzlies leading scorer last season who has an NCAA Div. 1 scholarship to Clarkson University, have been buzzing early as well. Wood, who hails from Nanaimo and is NCAA committed to UConn for 2023, leads the BCHL in goals with eight and is a point back of Eddy with 13. Rickwood missed two games with an injury but has four points in the other three contests.

“They can both skate and have a great hands and Wood has a great shot, so they’re easy to play with,” added Eddy.

Eddy, who’s a graduate of Pacific Christian School and played his youth hockey with Saanich Minor Hockey, is hitting stride at just the right time. The 19-year-old is in search of an NCCA scholarship and the ­Chilliwack Coliseum will be packed with college scouts all week. After facing Prince George tonight, the Grizzlies will play the West Kelowna Warriors (3-0) on Friday at 4 p.m.

“I’m looking forward to the Showcase,” he said. “I’ve already had some offers from schools and I hope to have a few more after the Showcase. I would love to make a decision on one in the next couple [of] weeks so I can just focus on hockey the rest of the season.”

Eddy’s coach isn’t surpised at his current success.

“Connor has been really impressive in the early going,” Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon said.

“He’s been such a great defence-first player for us for so long so to see him take advantage of his offensive minutes now is great to see and he’s doing a great job at both ends of the rink now.”

Didmon says he’s a perfect match on the Grizzlies’ big line.

“He brings a lot of speed that is hard to match and plays hard and goes to those traffic areas so it works really well for the other two.”

Following the Showcase, the Grizzlies return home to to take on the Vernon Vipers next Thursday at The Q Centre.

LOOSE PUCKS: Also at the Showcase, the Nanaimo ­Clippers will play the Salmon Arm Silverbacks today at 4 p.m., followed by a Friday game against the Coquitlam Express at 10 a.m. The Cowichan Valley Capitals will play the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the Merritt Centennials on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs play West Kelowna at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Vernon at 11 a.m. on Sunday. … Grizzlies first-year defenceman Eli Barnett has been tagged a ‘Player to Watch’ for the 2022 NHL draft. NHL Central Scouting released it’s first rankings of the season and the 6-foot-5, 205-pound blue-liner from Riverview, N.B., is ranked as a ‘C’ level (rounds 5-7) prospect for next year’s draft. Barnett is expected to begin his NCAA hockey career next fall at the University of Vermont.

bdrewry@timescolonist.com