Cole Bardreau Making Good First Impression With Lehigh Valley

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Cole Bardreau has played well in his first two games at the pro-level in AHL with the Phantoms.
The Philadelphia Flyers made a splash in the annual post-deadline college free agency period where you sometimes see undrafted college hockey players signed to professional contracts. The Flyers added the ECAC's Defensive Forward of the Year - a four-year player at Cornell University - to an entry level deal that kicks in next season.

While not the biggest guy on the ice - listed at 5-10, 194 pounds - Cole Bardreau has come in and played well in his pro debut with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms - skating two days at practice during the week with the team and impressing the coaching staff.

"If he was out of place, I wouldn't have played him," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said of Bardreau, adding, "I got a look at him in two days of practice and he's skating and he looks very comfortable so I gave him an opportunity to go out and play."

Friday night in Hartford, Bardreau played an effective two-way game - getting in on the forecheck in a bottom six role while also tallying his first pro goal on a net-front deflection.

Bardreau is no stranger to Phantoms defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, as the two were teammates representing the United States in the 2013 World Junior Championships in USA's gold medal run.

After the game, I caught up with Bardreau and talked briefly on a varying range of topics. See Bardreau's initial thoughts after his first pro game, the new role he learned to continue playing hockey and what to expect from him this season with the Phantoms.

Bardreau on what kind of skill set he brings to the Phantoms:
I try to just be an energy guy. That third line/fourth line grinder who just can bring momentum changes and do what he can to turn the momentum, chip in offensively when I can like that [his 1st pro goal in AHL debut Friday night in Hartford.]
On being named ECAC Defensive Forward of the Year, his time at Cornell:
I was always an offensive player before I even got to the program. It was kind of, I had to learn a new role if I wanted to play and that was the defensive side of the game. Something that I learned there and it stuck with me at Cornell. We played more of a defensive style, I don't think anyone would argue that. It was kind of good to hone my skills because you know at the next level guys get more and more skilled so you have to find something that you are good at.
Not the biggest guy, but still likes to bring chippy game - Thoughts on 1st pro game:
It was exciting. Obviously it's tough not to get the win there but just to get my feet wet and get a feel for the speed of play and the skill off guys. It was fun, but hopefully we can get a win tomorrow [Saturday at Worcester].


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