action:article | category:SPORTS0702 | adString:SPORTS0702 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Hockey » Monarchs

March 07. 2013 9:02PM

Londonderry's O'Connor a 'Senior' Monarch now


Londonderry native Ian O'Connor juggles the puck during practice in Manchester on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - From the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs to the Manchester Monarchs, Londonderry's Ian O'Connor has come full circle.

Signed to a professional tryout agreement by the Monarchs last week, O'Connor has quickly made an impression on the coaching staff. With dozens of friends and family in the stands on Wednesday night for his home debut, O'Connor scored his first AHL goal in a 3-2 Monarchs win over Bridgeport. Manchester will play at Portland tonight before hosting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Sunday at 5 p.m.

"I love his compete level. He's a guy that pays attention to detail, he's strong over the puck, he wins faceoffs, he's alert in his own zone and he's responsible," Monarchs head coach Mark Morris said of O'Connor. "I think he's a complete player."

The 6-foot, 200-pound forward played for the Junior Monarchs from 2003-2007 before skating four years at Providence College. O'Connor had stints with Reading and Stockton in the ECHL before getting a two-game taste of the AHL with Worcester last year.

O'Connor, 25, has been with Reading this season, playing in 55 games with 18 goals and 13 assists before getting the call from Manchester.

"It's been good. I was really excited to get here," O'Connor said. "This opportunity is what you play for all year long. To be able to come to my hometown and play for the hometown team was something I was excited to do."

O'Connor said that he did dream of playing for the Monarchs when he was on the junior team but didn't know if it would ever happen.

"When you're playing junior hockey, your goal is to get to college or major junior and hopefully take your career further than that," he said. "To play for the Monarchs, it's something that I always thought would be an awesome experience but not something I thought would definitely happen."

O'Connor was able to record his first AHL goal in front of family and friends, and did it on a top-notch goalie to boot. Former New York Islanders netminder Rick DiPietro was unable to stop O'Connor's backhand shot from the slot.

"It was a good forecheck by (Anthony Stewart and Kris Belan) and they got the puck out front and I just wanted to put it on net and sometimes, that's all it takes," O'Connor said. "You've just got to kind of get it toward the net and hit some sticks and hopefully it finds a way in. It's good to get the first one."

O'Connor's family will be at another New Hampshire venue Saturday when the University of New Hampshire hosts rival UMaine. O'Connor's younger brother Brice is a junior defenseman with the Black Bears.

With the Monarchs off on Saturday, O'Connor will be able to see his brother play. And if the elder O'Connor's play continues at this pace, his family will be able to watch him play in Manchester for the rest of the season.

"All in all, he's been a pleasant surprise and it's been nice to see a New Hampshire native get an opportunity," Morris said. "It's great for fan support and for his family. He's a bright, articulate young guy that grasps concepts and goes out and executes. He's certainly made an impression on his teammates and his coaches and we look forward to having him build on what he's done to date."


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Spurs' Matt Bonner will wear aew Adidas Crazy 8 shoes for Christmas Day game

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

Trial date set for former UNH hockey coach accused of assaulting player

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!