by Jeff Cox
Very few, if any, forwards in the USHL strike fear in opposing defensemen as does Boston University recruit Shane Bowers.
The second-year center for the Waterloo Black Hawks scored 22 goals and added 29 assists in 60 regular season games before tallying two goals and a helper in a three-game sweep of the Fargo Force in the Western Conference Semifinals.
“He combines his size and skill level. He uses his body positioning to protect the puck. He’s the best forward we’ve played against,” said Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Michael Karow, a BC commit.
Bowers, who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has always been considered an elite skater with a high-end offensive skill set, but he’s rounded out his game in his second season of junior hockey.
“I think I’m reliable in all situations, even strength, power play and penalty kill,” said Bowers.
Playing for legendary coach P.K. O’Handley, he’s learned some of the finer points of the game that have helped him become a more well rounded player.
“He’s helped me in all areas of the game. He’s big into details. He tries to notice those and call me out on them to make me a better player,” Bowers said.
Still, it’s his offensive prowess, ability to possess the puck, and create chances that has scouts salivating at the possibility of their organization selecting him in the upcoming NHL Draft.
“I’m a great skating two-way center. My hockey IQ,” Bowers said of his strengths. “Protecting the puck is a skill I’ve tried to work on. Balance in your skates and a low center of gravity, but you still have to work hard down low and read the situation.”
Bowers tries to keep a close eye on Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in an effort to assimilate parts of the NHL star’s game into his own.
“I like the way he plays the game at both ends of the ice and he’s got great leadership qualities. I try to watch him and put that into my game,” said Bowers.
Bowers is the star of yet another terrific recruiting class heading David Quinn’s way. He chose the Terriers over Boston College, Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth.
“There was a comfort level. The coaching staff is awesome. The facilities are awesome. It’s a little closer to home. It made the decision easy,” Bowers said.
Despite being picked fourth overall by Cape Breton in the 2015 QMJHL Draft, Bowers has always been confident in the NCAA route.
“It keeps all my options open. It doesn’t close any doors. You don’t have to rush. Not being the biggest and thickest guy, more time in the weight room will be beneficial,” Bowers said.
While the Clark Cup is the center of his attention right now, Bowers will be at next month’s NHL Scouting Combine and will almost certainly hear his name called in the first round of the NHL Draft.
“I’ve talked to quite a few teams. I just try to play my best, give it my all and put my best foot forward. I’m going to try to keep my nerves to a minimum,” said Bowers.
Up next is a date with the Sioux City Musketeers in the Western Conference Finals. If the team can play as well as it did against Fargo, the organization’s first Clark Cup since 2004 might be in reach.
“We stuck to our game plan and our team knew what made it successful. We tried to focus on ourselves. We played our game,” Bowers began. “We are a fast team. We play hard. We try to keep things simple. Everyone is buying in right now.”