No matter where he plays or who he plays for, Matt Brown has been putting it all together in a productive 2018-19 hockey season.
Brown had a hat trick and a six-point effort in his second game of the United States Hockey League season for the Des Moines Buccaneers in late September. That was part of a white-hot start that included 15 goals in 20 games for Brown, who is eighth in the league in scoring.
The 20-year-old forward from Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, was second on Team USA in assists with five in six games during a championship performance at the World Junior A Challenge in December. Brown and his American teammates came home with the first-place trophy.
Then, in last week’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Brown had two assists, making him one of three Team West players with two points in a 5-3 win over Team East.
The World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alberta, represented Brown’s first opportunity to play internationally.
“I think that was probably my favorite moment in my hockey career, being able to represent my country for the first time,” said Brown, who has committed to UMass-Lowell and will head there next season. “I got to play with a great group of guys. We blended well together, so it was just all-around a great experience."
And a successful one as well.
Brown continued to contribute to wins during the Top Prospects Game in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“A game like that, where you have so many eyes on you, a lot of guys feel a little pressure,” Brown said. “But I think games like that are awesome because you get to play against all the top guys in the league.
“Kids have equal or better skill level to you and that pushes you. And I love the competition.”
Brown has held up well in such competition. He assisted on goals late in each of the first two periods for 2-0 and 4-1 leads.
“I think I played well,” Brown said. “Having two assists helped, but it’s not about the points.
“It’s about your compete (level) and how you played and I feel like I competed well.”
Brady Meyer, a Des Moines teammate from North Branch, Minnesota, and Ethan Phillips each had a goal and an assist for West.
Isaiah Saville, a Tri-City Storm goalie from Anchorage, Alaska, started for the West and stopped 10 of 11 shots in the win. Saville was also part of the U.S. Junior Select Team that won in Alberta, earning a 25-save shutout against Russia in the championship game.
Robert Mastrosimone, a 17-year-old forward with the Chicago Steel, was the only player in the Top Prospects Game to score two goals.
Mastrosimone was named Team East Most Valuable Player. The Boston University commit from East Islip, New York, was a USHL All-Rookie Team choice last season and was also part of the championship effort in the World Junior A Challenge.
Brown has helped Des Moines to second place in the Western Conference with a 22-10-1-3 record. He leads the team in scoring with 18 goals and 19 assists in 31 games.
Mastrosimone, a former Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabre, has 24 points in 24 USHL games this season. He is one of two players averaging at least a point per game for the Steel, which is second in the Eastern Conference with a 19-12-1-0 record.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc. Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson.