Thursday, April 4, 2013

Junior Day: Glory Glory Matt Nieto

This is part 1 of a one(hopefully) part series on underclass members of the 2013 BU hockey team who have chosen to pursue their professional careers before graduation.

                                                           Glory Glory Time!

This past week Terrier junior forward Matt Nieto chose to forego his final year of eligibility at BU and turn professional. Nieto signed  with the San Jose Sharks  and will report to their AHL affiliate Worcester Sharks to finish their season. Nieto came to BU through the USNTDP coming into the 2010-2011 season where he had recorded 54 points in 61 games the year before. Nieto was a young freshman, being only 17 years old when he entered collegiate hockey. This not stop the hype from building up before he arrived on campus as Nieto and classmate Sir Charles Coyle built up plenty of pre-season buzz. Nieto would live up to the hype and become one of the most prolific scorers in the country.

Nieto began producing from the very beginning as he scored his first goal in an October contest against UMass.  Nieto would go on to score 10 goals as a freshman and 23 points overall. As would be the norm over the course of his career, Nieto was a streaky scorer. He finished the year hot with a 4-9-13 line over the final 11 games as he became a legitimate scoring threat. He was a named a conference top performer 4 times, 3 of which fell in the second half of the year. After his freshman season, Nieto was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL draft by the San Jose Sharks. This would be a bit of a homecoming for the Long Beach, California native.

Nieto really came into his own during his sophomore year at BU. Thanks to being paired up on a line with current NHLer Alex Chaisson and his own significant improvements, Nieto racked up 42 points on 16 goals and 26 assists. Nieto was often the fastest player on the ice and made his linemates better with his speed. He ended the season hot once again as he recorded a point in 7 out of his last 8 games. There were some rumors that he would turn pro after last year but he returned to Commonwealth Avenue for one more season.

Nieto played in all 39 games for BU this past season and recorded 38 points, 27 of which came in the second half. He put on a scoring clinic towards the end of the season. He recorded a hat trick on March 1st against Vermont and at one point, scored 6 straight goals for the Terriers. He recorded two assists in a 4-2 win over BC in December which is always a way to win the fans over. Nieto lead the team in goals with 18 and really turned it on when the team needed him in the second half of the year. He had tough luck in the first half but continue to skate hard and played some great games even if it didn't show on the score sheet for him. Nieto will leave big shoes to fill up front next season as his combination of speed and scoring ability is very difficult to match.  If the Worcester/San Jose fans are intelligent, they will adopt the Glory Glory Matt Nieto song seen below for every time he scores professionally. Thank you Matt for your 102 points in 3 years with the Terriers. Your scoring, speed, and goal song will be missed next season.

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