It’s been quite a campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute freshman forward Jerry D’Amigo.
He posted five goals and 14 points in his first 18 games with Rensselaer in the fall, including a goal in his collegiate debut, before he departed in late December for the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan.
Jerry D’Amigo | #29
He then finished second in scoring on the American squad and tied for third overall with 12 points, including a goal and an assist in Team USA’s 6-5 gold-medal-winning overtime victory over Canada at the Credit Union Centre.
“It was a good venue up there, and it was a great experience,” recalled D’Amigo. “We all had the same mindset we weren’t going to lose, and it was ideal with the fans against you.”
“He had a great tournament and was one of our top three forwards every game,” said U.S. National Junior Team Head Coach Dean Blais. “He has good speed and a head for the game, and he was responsible in the defensive zone.”
D’Amigo was at his best as the games got bigger. Besides his two-point performance in the championship game against Canada, he tallied two goals in a 5-2 semifinal victory over Sweden, and also scored twice in a, 6-2, quarterfinal win over Finland.
“He was great to work with, very coachable,” said Blais, who praised D’Amigo for his all-around play. “He was one of the top players we had, and he did what was needed for us to be successful.”
A 2009 draft choice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 5-foot-11, 196-pound native of Binghamton, N.Y., spent two seasons with the U.S National Team Development Program. He then signed with Rensselaer, just two hours from his hometown.
“Jerry is a very complete hockey player,” said Rensselaer Head Coach Seth Appert. “He has the talent, vision and creativity to play on our top lines and power play, while also possessing strong defensive attributes and instincts as well. He has the unique combination of being a go-to guy for us offensively, while also playing against our opponent’s top lines.”
Following his World Junior heroics to begin the new year, D’Amigo made a memorable return to the Rensselaer lineup on Jan. 10 at Princeton, where he notched a power-play goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory in a televised contest.
“Our guys welcomed me back with open arms and congratulated me,” he said. “It was good putting back on the [RPI] jersey, and good to get a few points.”
He was also serenaded with several chants of “USA” from Rensselaer backers who dropped in at the venerable Hobey Baker Rink that afternoon to support their Engineers.
“We had a little crowd cheering for us,” beamed D’Amigo, who ultimately finished the regular season with 32 points and was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team. “I’m not a guy for all the glory, but it was nice to come back.”
He also took back more than memories of the Americans winning their second-ever gold medal at the World Juniors, and not just from the red, white and blue side, either.
“I had a couple of things signed by both teams,” said D’Amigo of the title tilt. “In 10 or 20 years, I’ll look back and remember what a great time it was.”
Roman J. Uschak is a freelance writer in Union, N.J.
Photo — Getty Images
Hometown: Winthrop, Mass.
A little more than a year ago, Katie was stricken with a viral infection that left her fighting for her life. Doctors said the strength and conditioning she developed playing hockey helped her pull through the most critical days in the hospital. The incident left Katie needing to have all 10 toes amputated. Only two months later, Katie was learning how to walk again and setting her sights on returning to the ice. Through her hard work and determination Katie had made her school team, and is now aiming at earning a roster spot at the USA Hockey player development camp. Aside from her efforts on the ice, she is doing well to make up for lost time in school, and was elected president of her 8th grade class.