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Beavers freshman Carter Barley wreaking havoc on opposition

Ryan Ladika/MDN Carter Barley takes part in an offensive drill during a mid-week practice session at Maysa Arena.

Carter Barley has taken the ACHA by storm in just his first year as a member of the Minot State Beavers.

Already displaying the offensive prowess his coaching staff knew he possessed when they recruited him out of Manitoba’s Portage Terriers, the 6-foot-2 forward scored two goals and was credited with two assists in Minot State’s 8-1 victory over the Williston State Tetons on Jan. 14.

“It’s been amazing. We knew he was already offensively gifted, and we knew that would be the asset that he brought to the team,” Beavers head coach Wade Regier said. “He scores highlight reel-type goals, but he’s also scored some nice goals in the trenches and that’s just attributed to his work ethic and his ability to try to get better every day.”

It helps when he is motivated by playing with a program and a clubhouse culture that has lived up to every expectation. Being able to play with a school that prioritizes winning hockey games and boasts a family-like atmosphere was what Barley was in search of. He knew it would be a welcoming environment.

“It’s a good group of guys here,” Barley said. “I think that around the rink with the guys and out of the rink, hanging out watching TV or watching some games is definitely the best part.”

Make no mistake, Barley and the rest of the team mean business once the skates hit the ice. Regier compared Barley’s work ethic and tenacity to a “blue-collar hard-hat” mentality when he takes the ice.

It is paying off so far, and his coaching staff is encouraged by what they have seen from the freshman to this point. Regier knew Barley would eventually be a major contributor in the offensive zone, but he noted how exciting it has been to see the fireworks so early and so often from the young skater. In turn, Barley simply points to the aid he has received from his veteran teammates as the source of his brilliance on the rink.

“I think my linemates and the older guys, they really helped me through this and guided me,” he said. “They showed me how to play and they showed me the ropes around here. Wade’s obviously a good coach. He runs a good organization around here, and he taught us how to play at this level.”

Regier has been most impressed by Barley’s discipline when it comes to keeping his body in top physical shape, a crucial factor in staying game-ready and continuing on at such a high level.

“It goes back to how he’s in really good shape. He’s just a really good athlete,” Regier added. “Even seeing the early, dry land days in September before we hit the ice, and see him be able to run through and be in great shape. It leads to the transition to the ice, and that’s a big thing for him.”

What is the secret? Simply eating healthy, balanced meals, adding a liter of water every day, and a brief game of sewer ball with his teammates, according to Barley.

For those unfamiliar with the obscure practice, sewer ball is a game also played by the pros in the NHL before games. During hockey season, a brief scroll through teams’ social media accounts on gamedays usually provides videos of players kicking around a soccer ball in their respective arenas’ tunnels.

Once the game before the game is complete, Barley heads out onto the ice for a brief warm-up, taking shots at his own goaltenders before the opening puck drop. With Barley’s great early success, coach Regier expects opposing teams to make adjustments as the season progresses.

“Other teams are going to notice,” he warned. “Now you’re going to see other teams match lines and put their best guys against him. He’s going to have to fight through some of the best players to get those open opportunities. If he keeps working, he is going to be rewarded for it.”

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