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Clifton making impression for Bruins in Stanley Cup Ultimate towards Blues

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BOSTON — Connor Clifton often begins out flying a bit below the radar, but it surely would not take lengthy for the Boston Bruins rookie defenseman to make an impression wherever he goes.Clifton did it once more Monday, sparking the Bruins in a come-from-behind Four-2 victory towards the St. Louis Blues in Recreation 1 of the Stanley Cup Ultimate at TD Backyard. He scored Boston’s first purpose at 2:16 of the second interval, giving life to his crew and the house crowd, and was named Third Star of the Recreation.It is the identical in every single place for Clifton. Folks rapidly take discover, whether or not it’s due to his burning will to win and the way that’s mirrored in his bodily type or due to the high-risk, high-reward possibilities he generally takes within the offensive zone. [RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blues series coverage] Clifton arrived at Bruins coaching camp final season and located himself matched towards veteran David Backes, a prototypical NHL energy ahead. Clifton (5-foot-11, 175 kilos) went toe-to-toe with Backes, who’s 4 inches taller and 40 kilos heavier.”I used to be an 11-year vet and he was a brand new man on the scene, and he did not pull any punches with me,” stated Backes, who sits in a neighboring stall within the locker room and has gotten to know Clifton higher in the course of the previous few months. “He was going after me. I used to be a bit [upset] at first, however then take a step again and say that’s the sort of child [who] has the drive and the power to make an impression as a result of he has that inside burning fireplace whoever he’s towards.”Joel Edmundson discovered the identical lesson the arduous means Monday. The 6-foot-Four Blues defenseman thought he had Clifton tied up when he pinched into the offensive zone throughout a rush by Bruins heart Sean Kuraly. As an alternative, Clifton powered to the online and was capable of get sufficient of Kuraly’s go to redirect it previous goalie Jordan Binnington.”I did not see [the puck],” Clifton stated. “I noticed the go come throughout after which I did not see it. I felt it hit me after which it went up after which I noticed guys [celebrating] and knew it was purpose.”Video: STL@BOS, Gm1: Clifton places Bruins on the boardThat mix of tenaciousness, recklessness and ability was dubbed “Cliffy Hockey” when he was taking part in for Windfall of the American Hockey League. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has appropriated the nickname and has discovered to dwell with a number of the errors inherent within the generally freewheeling play of the 24-year-old.In spite of everything, he is nonetheless studying.Clifton signed an AHL contract with Windfall on Aug. 16, 2017, then was scratched a number of instances in his first season. He started this season 11th on Boston’s depth chart for defensemen, however performed 19 NHL video games due to accidents. Clifton has parlayed that audition into an everyday function in the course of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; he is performed in 13 of Boston’s 18 video games and has 4 factors (two objectives, two assists) after managing one help in the course of the common season.”He is a gamer,” Cassidy stated. “I believe he competes arduous, has a number of braveness. He is slowly discovered what he can do at this stage, what makes him profitable. I believe he is an actual efficient participant together with his ft shifting as a result of the sport comes a bit bit naturally when he is shifting. When he isn’t shifting he is a median participant, and that is when he can get uncovered.”Clifton performed throughout his teenage years at Christian Brothers Academy, close to his hometown of Matawan, New Jersey. The college has produced a number of NHL gamers, together with Philadelphia Flyers ahead James van Riemsdyk, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and San Jose Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan. Clifton’s older brother, Tim, three years his senior, performs for San Jose of the AHL.Video: CAR@BOS, Gm2: Clifton pads lead with first NHL goalRyan Bogan, who left the varsity this season, coached all of them. However few rivaled Clifton when it got here to drive and fearlessness.”He performed like a monster in highschool,” stated Bogan, who admits he is questioned which stage would turn out to be too massive a problem for Clifton’s slight body. He is nonetheless ready.Requested to sum up what makes Clifton particular as a participant, Bogan recalled a uncommon regular-season loss. The crew was taking part in uninspired towards Brick Excessive College and allowed the sport’s first three objectives. Clifton scored two highlight-reel objectives and hit the submit, however the comeback fell brief in a Three-2 loss.”He was all around the ice and at all times had the puck in that sport,” Bogan stated. “It wasn’t as a result of he was being egocentric, it was that he mainly determined that if the opposite guys weren’t going to play arduous, he was going to go on the market and do it. He refuses to lose, and he will not give up. That is simply who he’s.”These traits have served Clifton nicely throughout his journey to the NHL, which included stops with the New Jersey Hitmen (United States Premier Hockey League), USA Hockey’s Nationwide Crew Improvement Program, Quinnipiac College and Windfall.At every stage, he is needed to make a reputation for himself, pressured to point out once more that his mix of ability and keenness will be an asset.”It has been a journey, and I believe I’ve been working for it my complete life,” Clifton stated. “You dream about taking part in within the NHL and you do not know if it’s a risk till a sure stage. If you get to that stage, every little thing adjustments.”This complete journey, I actually embraced it. Every new coach, every new set of fellows, you simply need to be taught from them. Everybody brings a distinct factor to the desk. Every set of valleys you hit alongside the journey, you’ve got somebody that’s going that will help you by way of it, and that’s what is nice in regards to the hockey world.”

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