WENATCHEE, Wash. –Wenatchee Wild forward Ben Carey (Centennial, Colo.) is coming off a week he will not soon forget.
First came one of the most important decisions of his life – deciding to commit to Air Force Academy, where he will continue his hockey career and education in 2012-13.
“It’s just a major stress reliever because I don’t have to worry about where I’m going, about scouts in the stands or anything else,” said Carey. “All I have to do is worry about winning games now.”
That was evident in his performance over the weekend when the Wild swept a pair of games from the Fresno Monsters at the Town Toyota Center. Carey, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and 156 pounds, struck for three goals and an assist in the series. Yesterday, he learned he was named the SBK Hockey West Player of the Week for his efforts against the Monsters.
“I think that committing gave me a little bit of confidence [in the series against Fresno],” Carey said. “It was a relief off of my back, and I just went out there and played without stress.”
Carey caused the Monsters stress. In the first game of the series, he gave the Wild a bit of valuable insurance late in the second period when he scored a wraparound goal. In Game 2, he scored two second-period goals and recorded an assist in the Wild’s 8-1 victory. He was a plus-3 in the series. On the season, Carey’s eight points (4G, 4A) tie him for the third most on the team.
“Ben is fast and skilled but, as important, he is a very imaginative and character player,” said Wild third-year head coach Paul Baxter. “He had 12 shots on goal over the weekend and, along with his linemates, was a consistent threat as well as very reliable defensively.”
Carey, 17, will be in good company at Air Force. Three current members of the Falcons team – Adam McKenzie (Petaluma, Calif.) , Ryan Timar (Novi, Mich.) and Mitch Torrel (Monticello, Minn.) – all played for the Wild last season. In addition, current Wild forwards Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) and Blake Saylor (Centennial, Colo.) are committed to Air Force for next fall.
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(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)