DU Recruit Joey Laleggia Is Tearing Up BCHL

(above) DU recruit Joey Laleggia is the leading scoring defenseman in the BCHL with 19 goals & 40 assists in 41 games

From: Penticton Western News
by Emanuel Sequeira

Penticton Vees defenceman and DU recruit Joey Laleggia is on a 12-game point streak but he’s more concerned with helping his team have more success and win a BCHL championship.

Joey Laleggia cares more about team success than personal.

A golden example is the Penticton Vees defenceman’s response when asked about his current 12-game point streak, in which he has four goals and 14 points.

“I had no idea,” said Laleggia. “This is definitely the first I’ve heard of it. We have been playing very well as a team lately.”

And there you have it. Nothing about him working on his lethal one-timers after practice. Nothing about how he isn’t afraid to carry the puck up the ice to create chances or be one of the keys to the Vees’ third-ranked power play. It wasn’t until later in the interview that he talked about how being an offensive weapon is part of his game. Instead, he quickly deflected and briefly mentioned a rough 3-1 loss to rival Vernon on New Year’s Day. A game which he still collected an assist on Brendan O’Donnell’s goal.

“It’s all a learning experience and we will be ready for those guys when playoff time comes around,” said Laleggia, who Vees fans love, especially the teenage girls who bring their homemade signs dubbing him the Italian Stallion. “As for individual success, it’s hand in hand with team success.”

After having a successful rookie campaign in which the Burnaby native led all defenceman with 13 goals and 65 points in 54 games, Laleggia has surpassed last season’s goal total with 18 and is poised to set a new career high in points in what is likely his final junior A season.

Teammate Garrett Milan said Laleggia’s success comes from putting himself in open areas for scoring chances.

“He’s got a great shot back there and he loves to use it,” said Milan. “With him finding open areas to use that shot it’s just going to get him more and more points. He helps us get on the board on the power play, which is running great right now. He’s a big part of that and he’s a big part of all our offensive plays.”

“He’s been playing real well,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson. “I think he’s a great example of a person who has taken a slower path. He took the extra year of midget and it really helped him coming in having an outstanding rookie year for us. Instead of taking a year off early and going to college, he came back for his second year of junior.”

The Vees coach added that Laleggia, who will join former teammate Beau Bennett with the Denver Pioneers in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, is proving that he is able to produce without Denver Manderson and Bennett.

Laleggia models his game after Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith.

“He’s good in all three zones,” said Laleggia, who is also a Wayne Gretzky fan. “Unbelievable in the offensive zone but then he’s shutting down the first line on the other team. He’s the all-around defenceman, He played here so he’s really a guy I look up to.”

While Laleggia still makes some mistakes in his zone, Harbinson has noticed that part of his game improving.

“First I think (assistant coach) Mike Hengen has done a great job with our D-core,” said Harbinson. “Our D respect him. I think Joey is a smart kid and sometimes it’s just time. Some leave before the time is right. He kills penalties and is put in a situation that maybe he was not a year ago. We’re real happy with him and we’re going to need him to continue that trend in the last 19 games and playoffs.”

Playing better defensively was important for Laleggia to focus on after last year.

“I feel, and the coaching staff feels, I’ve improved and killing penalties now and feeling good, feeling more confident,” said Laleggia, who will be looking to help the Vees defeat the Surrey Eagles at home tonight. “I have learned a lot from my teammates Derik Johnson, Tyler Hlookoff, Paul Bezzo, Kyle Beaulieau, guys like that are very sound, very good in their own end. I’m just going to keep on trying to improve. The coaching staff has done a lot to help me.”


Anonymous said...

Kinda like Bennett did last year. He's really "tearing it up" at DU this year.

Anonymous said...

Lol. LaGoatLeggings a la Dragnet the movie staring Dan Akroid.

Anonymous said...

I noticed he didn't get mentioned in the redline draft report?

dggoddard said...

Laleggia is listed at 5'10 180 lbs. so the NHL is not going to be too interested in a Defenceman with that build. I believe I read that he was bypassed by every NHL team in last year's draft.

That being said, if he duplicates his 19 goals & 40 assists in just 41 games on the collegiate level the NHL will have to give him due consideration.

Zickafoose said...

It's a feel-good story. I surely do hope he makes it and I have a sneaking suspicion he will. Maybe he's a 6-7 in 2016 - 18? Or maybe even a 5 - 6; with the fire wagon crew that will be the Oil, a first break-out pass will be an all important consideration going forward.