Rugged sophomore forward and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Rob Bellamy is enjoying a breakout season with the University of Maine. While his numbers aren’t spectacular (nine goals, six assists for 15 points), his high energy and physical play have provided the Black Bears with some muscle this season.
Hockey’s Future spoke with Bellamy after practice on Wednesday at the Bradley Center.
HF: You have really blossomed into a great player this year. What is it about this season that has you playing with more confidence in comparison to last year?
RB: I think it’s just coming back and being comfortable with the situation. As a freshman it’s tough coming in because you’re always nervous and hard to get any confidence. I actually gained some confidence near the end of last year. This year, I felt like I came in with some good confidence and I want to keep my game simple and do what I do best, like forechecking and take the body. My linemates, they’re making me good too. That’s definitely been an asset for me. We’re having a good year and we’re trying to keep it going.
HF: Now you’ve been playing with Brent Shepheard and Jon Jankus. You three are pretty hard hitters. Do you feel that that aspect adds a much tougher dimension to playing against Maine, specifically you three?
RB: Oh absolutely. Some teams will come up against us and they don’t want to have to play against guys like us. That’s what we like to do and that’s our game. We like to hit hard, forecheck and keep the pressure on. That creates scoring opportunities for us and that gives our team some energy and a chance to win. We just have to keep it going.
HF: What do you feel is the one thing that you’ve made the biggest improvement in this year?
RB: Probably my work in the defensive zone, working on my positioning more. Being in the right position creates more offensive opportunities. Last year progressed to this year. Playing with these guys has made us better on the forecheck. We haven’t had to spend a lot of time in the defensive zone much either, so that’s been one of our great qualities too.
HF: A lot of people felt that Maine had little to no chance of making it to the Frozen Four. What do you say to those people about having accomplished that feat and being here?
RB: I think the biggest thing is that we all come out and work hard. Down the stretch here, in every game we stuck to playing our game. We’re not trying to do anything out of the ordinary. We don’t try to make fancy plays or highlight reel plays. We just stick to our system and making the right plays. That’s what has gotten us here. We’re a disciplined team I believe but we also have skill and a lot of depth as well. From goaltending out, we have four lines that can go along with some great defense.
HF: One of the things that the team is so well known for is defense, but this season you guys have really picked it up on offense. That’s obviously made you more of a threat. With that added part of Maine’s game, do you feel that the team can go up against the Wisconsins, Boston Colleges and North Dakotas a lot better now?
RB: Absolutely. Last year, we had a couple of big guns that we could rely on but this year with guys like Greg Moore really emerging for us have added some depth. We have other guys that can add some offense too, but for us it all starts with defense. That’s the reason why we’re developing more offense. We’re trying to keep it simple and we’re putting pucks in the net.
HF: Aside from the physical aspect, what do you personally feel is the greatest asset that you bring to the team?
RB: A lot of energy and speed. I like getting from point A to point B and I feel like I get there quickly. I also love getting to the net and making things happen in front of it with my body, like blocking out opposing players.
HF: What is the one area that you’d like to continue to improve in?
RB: I think I can improve on my hands and my shot. They’re getting better but I’d like to be able to hone in a bit more. Those are probably the two biggest things for me.
HF: In watching you this year, the one word that would come to my mind every time is intensity.
RB: That’s the way I am and that’s the way that I play, even in practice. Every drill and every shift I just have that intensity. I just want to get better all the time and on every shift. I want to bring intensity and never take a shift off because that shift could be the turning point of the game.
HF: One of our readers asked me to describe your style a bit and the reply I gave was “he’s kind of like the energizer bunny.” Would you say that that’s a fairly accurate description?
RB: (Laughing) Yeah. The good thing about it is I can always rely on my energy. My energy and my speed help me to get to point A or point B. It allows me to work on my goals and get that shot.
HF: You were drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. What was it like for you when you found out that they had drafted you because your style of play seems to fit so well with theirs?
RB: It was amazing and one of the best days of my life. I was able to be at the draft and it was pretty awesome. They’re the kind of team that’s my mold. Guys like Bobby Clarke were great players and worked and battled hard in the corners. That’s my mold, that’s part of what I do. It was just awesome to be drafted by them.
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