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March 26, 2014

Harper led Rochester United hockey to Red title, takes home MVP honor

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Harper led Rochester United hockey to Red title, takes home MVP honor
Max Harper (9) finished league play with seven goals and six assists in six games. He was recently named the OAA Red MVP. For more on Harper, see Sports on page?

ROCHESTER — He was the go-to guy in the get-things-going situations.

He was the offensive threat when the game was on the line — a defensive forward when a lead had to be held.

More or less, Max Harper was the type of player who did just about everything this season, and as Rochester United hockey coach Craig Staskowski said last week, he was a player who “did everything well.”

“His speed stands out, but he did everything well this season,” Staskowski said. “He scored big goals. He plays well in the defensive end. He passes well. He’s shiftier than most players. He just does it all.”

Staskowksi may be Harper’s coach, but he’s hardly the lone one in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division who shared the same opinion.

Following the conclusion of the 2014 playoffs, the coaches in the Red voted Harper as the Most Valuable Player after he helped Rochester to its second straight league title.

“I was real excited,” Harper said of the MVP award. “It was great to be honored for my accomplishments. … That being said, I know none of my success would have been possible were it not for my teammates and coaches. I think coming to practice every day knowing I had to give it everything I had is what made this season so great.”

Rochester won the Red with a 4-0-2 mark, while Harper finished league play with seven goals and six assists.

In 27 total games this season, the junior forward tallied 33 goals and 30 assists while guiding Rochester to a 21-4-3 mark.

“He had a flare for coming though in the clutch,” Staskowski said. “He played such a big part in why we were successful. You need guys like that. He scored 33 times, but a bunch of those were at such critical times.”

“He also took on such a leadership role this season, too,” Staskowski added. “It got to the point to where when he was on the ice, you almost expected him to do something great.”

The expectations remain, too.

Harper said he’ll be back with the team next year, “and we’re going to try and win a third title,” he said.

“The best part about the year he has,” Staskowski said, “is that he’s only a junior and we’ll have him back.”

See next week’s issue of the Rochester Post for a story on OAA White MVP, Avondale senior Emmett Wagner.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.