Sophomore forward earning his keep
Adam Berg has developed into one of the most valuable and versatile members of the Brock Badgers men’s hockey team.
The 22-year-old Calgary native is among the leading scorers with three goals and three assists so far this season, but is also a valued for his efforts at the other end of the rink.
“I really try and put the emphasis on a 200-foot game, almost like a two-way power forward,” Berg said. “I really try and be the best player I can be in all three ends of the ice, blocking shots, making a play defensively, or even scoring a goal.
“I try and have that well-rounded game.”
Berg’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by Brock head coach Marty Williamson.
“By no means is he a fancy player, but there’s not probably a player in this league that gets more out of his effort,” Williamson said. “He’s got scoring qualities, he is on the top penalty kill (unit).
“He feels every time he is on the ice he can help us.”
Berg, who is majoring in business communications, came to Brock last season from the British Columbia Hockey League along with goaltender Logan Thompson.
Williamson knew Thompson was a top-flight netminder, but wasn’t quite sure what he was getting in Berg, who came on Thompson’s recommendation.
“We didn’t know a lot about him,” Williamson said.
What Williamson did know was Berg’s winning pedigree.
“He played on a team that won a Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack. He was part of a winning culture there. I always like guys that have won. There is an extra price to pay to win,” Williamson said.
Berg agreed winning a championship has been a big factor in his development.
“I think once you get to that point and see what it takes first hand to win it gives you confidence to win not only regular season games here, but also win a championship here,” Berg said.
Berg had a solid first season with Badgers collecting nine goals and 15 points and was named the team’s rookie of the year.
“He just kept getting better,” Williamson said. “He drives it with energy. He looks like he can never get denied. He just works so hard and he’s getting rewarded for it.
“He’s really pushed the pace.”
Berg, who is skating on a line with Justin Brack and Christian Girhiny, feels he is building on his success from last season.
“Going back to last year, I had a pretty good year as a rookie and getting a chance to come back and have more of a role is really good for my development,” he said. “I’m just trying to do my job every night.”
Berg’s play has been a reason the Badgers have quickly turned things around with four wins in a row after a slow start.
“Our first few games we didn’t seem to be playing the way we wanted to play,” Berg said. “Our style is to be a team that’s very hard to play against and good defensively. The last four games we’ve been playing awesome and we’re trying to build off that.”
Williamson said the Badgers have gotten back to the basics.
“We look more like the team that won 19 games last year,” he said. “We’re not turning the puck over as much, we’re not playing as pretty. We’re playing a lot smarter and kind of getting our identity back.
“It all kind of fits into how we want to play. We’re second-best in goals against in our division now. It was high early and we’ve got it back to where we want it to be, one of the top defensive teams.”
The Badgers have also come alive offensively with an 8-2 win over Royal Military College and a 6-0 triumph over Waterloo.
“That’s little unusual for us,” Williamson said. “We have no one in top 10 scoring but we’re the only team with 12 guys of five points or more.
“It’s a real team effort and that’s what we’re most proud of in this stretch.”
The Badgers are home to Waterloo Thursday at 7:15 p.m. and in Guelph Saturday.
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