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Hockey East Recruiting: Conor O'Neil commits to Vermont

Vermont picked up an "elite goal scorer" in Conor O'Neil.

Matt Dewkett

Conor O'Neil parlayed a good showing at the Beantown Summer Classic into a scholarship offer from the University of Vermont. The second-year forward out of the Jersey Hitmen organization committed to play college hockey for Kevin Sneddon's Catamount program less than a day after the conclusion of the big summer showcase in Marlboro.

The Hummelstown, Pa. native led the showcase's pro division in goals with seven and trailed only Providence recruit Bryan Lemos in total points. A veteran of junior hockey, the '94 will play one more season with the Hitmen in the USPHL before matriculating to Burlington for the 2015-16 season.

O'Neil isn't a flashy player who will wow observers with his hands or toe-drags, but he has a really quick release and seems to find the scoring areas to get his shot off.

"He's speedy, a north to south forward with a big shot and a lightning release," said Hitmen coach and former Boston College forward Toby Harris. "He plays with an edge. He's an elite goal scorer and a great skater."

O'Neil, a left shot left wing, grew up playing for the Hershey Jr. Bears organization before playing junior hockey with the NJ Rockets in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League and then spent a season in the NAHL with the Amarillo Bulls and Wichita Falls Wildcats.

Two other Vermont recruits for 2015, Brian Bowen and Joe O'Connor, excelled at the Beantown Classic. UVM assistant coach Kyle Wallack was there to take in the action.


Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.