February 18, 2010

2010 goalie Vienneau has two favorites

The Kingstown Voyageurs may have fallen 3-2 to Georgetown Feb. 13, but the night was not a total loss for goaltender Joel Vienneau. A 2010 prospect, he has narrowed his decision down to Michigan and Minnesota and an assistant from one of those schools was in attendance …

"[Michigan's] Mel Pearson saw me last weekend and he thought I played really well," the 6-3, 185-pound netminder said. "He likes my size. They haven't offered [officially] yet but they are very interested in me because they lost Jack Campbell to major juniors and have a big need.

"Michigan is a pretty good hockey school and they've had a lot of great players. I like their history."

Vienneau, a three-star prospect, made 33 saves on 36 shots in the overtime loss to Georgetown. Overall, this season, he is 24-4-1 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .931 save percentage in the Ontario Junior 'A' Hockey League.

Currently, nine skaters in the OJAHL have committed to college programs for 2010 and Vienneau could be the 10th.

"I want to have my school completed if hockey doesn't work out," he said. "I think it's better hockey [than major juniors] and it allows me four years to develop before possibly playing in the NHL."

Michigan does not have this one in the bag, however. The Hearst, Ont., native visited Minnesota in January and lists the Golden Gophers as a co-No. 1 with the Wolverines.

"The coaching staff is very nice - they're all good guys - and their campus, I thought it would be bigger but it's pretty tight for 50,000 students," he said. "They also have a great past, and produce NHL players all the time."

Vienneau has been pretty happy with his play thus far this season but is focused on helping the Voyageurs in the playoffs. Once his year has concluded, he will turn his attention to making a college decision.

"Right now, I really have no idea which way I'm leaning," Vienneau said. "They're both pretty close. Once I visit Michigan after my season, I will decide."

Vienneau considers his greatest strength his size and lateral movement, but also thinks he handles the puck well and admits "my glove is better than my blocker."






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