Defenseman Matthew Dawson Commits to UNH for This Fall
|Incoming UNH Freshman|
18-year-old Matthew Dawson (DOB: 8/13/1996), a left-shot defenseman from Tsawwassen, British Columbia (outside of Vancouver) has committed to play for UNH in the 2015-16 season. Last season, the 5'10", 160 lbs. Dawson was the second-highest scorer among the Green Bay Gambler defensemen with 5 goals, including one game-winner, and 8 assists. Green Bay won only 18 games and had the second fewest points in the United States Hockey league.
Dawson played youth hockey with the South Delta Minor Hockey Association and Junior B hockey with the Delta Ice Hawks (same as Chicago Blackhawk defenseman Brent Seabrook). As a 16-year-old rookie with the Ice Hawks in the 2012-13 season, Dawson played against 20-year-olds and performed well enough to be called up for five regular-season games by the Surrey Eagles of the British Columbia Hockey League. Ice Hawks head coach Dave McLellan described Dawson's strengths:
"He moves up the ice really well and is a good fit for our system too. We need guys who can play a possession type game and can break trapping teams with speed."At the end of the regular season, Dawson joined the Surrey Eagles for their successful run through the playoffs. He played in three playoff games as the Eagles won the 2013 BCHL Championship. In the 2013 Western Canada Cup, which pits the champions of the three western province Junior A leagues against each other, the Surrey Eagles won and Dawson played in all 5 games. In the ultimate championship tournament - the Royal Bank Cup - Dawson and the Eagles advanced to the semifinal round but lost in overtime. Shortly after the RBC, Dawson committed to play for Surrey in the 2013-14 season. In the announcement, Eagles' Head Coach and General Manager Matt Erhart said:
"With the departure of some of our key blue liners from last season, we're excited to have Matthew join our club as a young puck moving defenceman. Matthew performed beyond his years during our run to the RBC Cup, and we're looking forward to him being a part of our team for the 2013-2014 season."In his rookie season in the BCHL, Matt Dawson lead the defensemen on the Surrey Eagles in the regular season with 6 goals, including 4 power play goals, and 28 assists. Among all BCHL defensemen, he tied for 10th in scoring and tied for 7th in assists. Surrey lost in the opening round of the 2013-14 BCHL playoffs. In 6 playoff games, Dawson scored 2 power play goals and added 2 assists. Dan Sallows, head scout for the Merritt Centennials that season, compiled this highlight video of Matt Dawson's play in the 2013-14 season:
I asked Dan Sallows, who is now the British Columbia interior regional scout for the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League, for his evaluation of Matt Dawson:
"Matt has a good quick first step, is excellent at walking the blueline and quarterbacking the PP, isn't overly big but utilizes his IQ, active stick and good body positioning when defending, has decent shot, reads the play well, rarely panics, good at moving the puck and transitioning up the ice, and generally makes smart decisions."I had an opportunity to interview Matt, via email, about his background and commitment to UNH:
Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH? Matt Dawson: The main reasons for my choice of the University of New Hampshire were the amazing campus and facilities - as well as the coaching staff.
Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Matt Dawson: I was recruited by other programs but never got into a serious talk about attending. I have always planned on attending a U.S college for hockey. It's a big part of your life and you want it to be the right fit and I think I've found that with UNH.
Lowry: Will you be enrolling as a freshman at UNH this fall? Dawson: Yes, I'll be enrolling this fall.
Lowry: Late in the 2012-13 season, when you were 16 years old, you were called up to play for the Surrey Eagles in the British Columbia Hockey League. You got to play in all of the games as Surrey won the Western Canada Cup and advanced to the semifinals of the Royal Bank Cup. How did you respond to the pressure of playing in the most prestigious tournaments in Canadian Junior A Hockey at such a young age? Dawson: As you mentioned, I was called up at the end of the season to play in the playoffs. It was a big step in my junior hockey career but the veteran players on the team made the adjustment much easier for me. The coaching staff of Matt Erhart and Peter Schaefer also were a huge help in making the adjustment and playing me in the right positions.
Lowry: In the 2013-14 season, you were the leading scorer among the Surrey Eagles defensemen with 6 goals and 28 assists. Among all BCHL defensemen, you were tied for 10th in scoring and tied for 7th in assists. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve? Dawson: My strengths are my hockey vision and my ability to make the first pass out of my zone. The areas I am trying to improve on are my strength and ability to get in front of pucks in my zone.
Lowry: The year before coming to UNH, defenseman Dylan Chanter moved from the BCHL to the USHL. Last year, you made a similar move from the BCHL to the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. What was that transition like and did you notice any differences between the leagues? Dawson: The transition was smooth. Green Bay is a fantastic organization that helped develop my game. The leagues are very similar, the only difference I would notice would be the USHL has a little more depth in every team.
Lowry: You scored 5 goals and 8 assists in 57 games for the Gamblers last season. Which defensive pairing did you play on and did you play on the Gamblers' special teams? Dawson: I played most of the year with Grant Frederic (a Miami University commit), which I enjoyed a lot. I did play on the power play throughout the year.
Lowry: Where did you graduate from high school? What major do you plan to pursue at UNH? Dawson: I graduated from South Delta Secondary in Tsawwassen, BC Canada. I plan to pursue a major in Kinesiology. I'm extremely excited to start a new chapter at UNH and look forward to everything that the next few years have to hold.