Know Your Bobcat – Matt Perry
Throughout the months of August and September, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment features rookie Bobcat forward Matt Perry.
Name: Matt Perry
Hometown: Lakeville, MN
Weight: 175 lbs.
2012-13 Team: St. Thomas Academy Cadets
2012-13 Stats: 25 GP, 12 G, 8 A, 20 PTS, 18 PIM, 2 PPG, 1 GWG
2012-13 Awards: Minnesota Class A All-Tournament Team, 2013 Minnesota Class A State Championship
Favorite Actor: Adam Sandler
Favorite Hobby: Fishing
Highlight of 2012-13: “Scoring a hat trick in the state finals is a memory I’ll never forget. We were battling so hard that game and when the third one went in, it didn’t even feel real.”
Over the last ten years, St. Thomas Academy has risen to power as one of the preeminent programs in Minnesota high school hockey: capturing Class A state titles in 2006, 2008 and 2011-2013.
Bismarck Bobcats forward Matt Perry was on the Cadets’ roster for the last three of those championship runs and had a rather large hand in the most recent one, racking up a mind-boggling seven goals and three assists in three games at the Xcel Energy Center—including a hat trick in the finals against Hermantown—to propel St. Thomas to their third straight Class A title.
“Matt played the best hockey of his high school career on the biggest stage possible,” hailed Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “TV cameras pointed at you and a target already on your back and you still put up 10 points in three games. If that doesn’t say ‘big time player,’ I don’t know what does.”
The recent success the Cadet program has commanded is multi-faceted, according to Perry.
“Coach Greg and Coach Tom Vanelli, our co-head coaches, did a great job night in and night out of having us prepared for the best competition in the state,” credited Perry. “Not only that but when you’re out there with that target on your back, it can be a real grind but our team really came together as a family and battled through that as one unit.”
With back-to-back-to-back state banners in tow, the Cadets will now move up to Class AA for the 2013-14 campaign.
“It’s pretty rewarding to think that I was a part of a group that had so much success that it permanently elevated the status of St. Thomas in Minnesota high school hockey,” admitted Perry. “It’s an exciting new chapter for the program and I know that with the younger guys on the team like Tommy Novak that the Cadets are in great hands for what lies ahead.”
Though Matt Perry’s superhuman State Tournament scoring explosion earned him some well-deserved attention to close the 2012-13 season, his game is a lot more team-oriented.
“I love to be aggressive on the forecheck, put my nose to the grindstone in the corner and be on that line that gets the tough defensive matchup,” submitted Perry, who put up a +9 at the 2013 State Tournament despite going up against the best Class A players that Minnesota had to offer. “Not to say that I mind putting up points, but that always comes when I’m doing my job well in those other aspects.”
His gritty style earned him the respect of not only the St. Thomas staff but other coaches around the Twin Cities.
“Matt came highly recommended by a number of opposing coaches,” revealed Bobcats Midwest regional scout Aaron Venasky. “I even had one of my old coaches seek me out and tell me that Matt would be a great fit with the Bobcats.”
Between his legendary State Tournament performance and a strong showing at the Bobcats’ pre-draft tryout in Prior Lake, Minn., Perry was offered and accepted the team’s last tender agreement for 2013, placing him on the Cats’ protected list.
The rookie forward would continue to impress when he arrived at the VFW Sports Center in late July.
“Matt has very good poise with the puck and sees the ice extremely well,” assessed Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth. “Not only that but he’s willing to work hard and play whatever role is asked of him, which is something we look for in a player because to succeed at this level and beyond you need to be versatile.”
Perry also has one intangible that Sedevie and his scouts are always on the lookout for.
“He’s a winner,” stated Sedevie, simply. “One thing I learned early on as an assistant coach in this league is to look for players that have the talent to play at this level that come from programs with a winning tradition because there’s something to be said for knowing how to win.”
Considering the Bobcats have had quite a run of success themselves with five straight Central Division titles and the 2010 Robertson Cup, Perry’s big-stage experience will surely come in handy in black and gold.
“We had that bullseye every game because every night the guys we lined up against wanted to say they beat St. Thomas,” offered Perry, “and I know it will be the same in the Central Division with the Bobcats because everybody wants a piece of the top team. I can’t wait for that.”
Welcome to the League
Moving six and a half hours away from the Twin Cities and being away from home for the first time to continue his hockey dream is a new challenge for Matt Perry, but the transition has been very smooth for the former Cadet.
“I can’t say enough about how the guys on the team, the staff in the team office, my billet family and the folks here in town have all been so welcoming so far,” lauded the first-year Bobcat. “We’ve got a great group of guys in the locker room and they’ve made this step pretty easy to take.”
Perry’s first week and a half in the capital region has been a baptism by fire to the junior level, starting with Hell Week before the team took the ice Monday for a full week of extended practices.
“It’s a lot different in every way from how you prepare in high school,” related Perry. “Hell Week was tough but it was also rewarding because the competition aspect of it brought out everyone’s best effort but it also was great for team bonding because everyone was there supporting each other at the same time.”
Things jump up a notch now for Perry and all the other newcomers in training camp as the squad heads into its weekend of preseason games against the Minot Minotauros Friday and Saturday and the coaches get to see all the fresh faces against live competition.
“Getting to go out and step into game situations is really exciting,” submitted Perry. “We’ve been working out and grinding each other in practice and I think it’s great to be able to show what we can do against another team and put our talents on display against an in-state rival in Minot.
“I’m looking forward to showing the coaches what I bring to the table and prove that I’m a Bobcat and can be a part of the biggest team goal there is: winning another championship.”
Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month-plus as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2013-14 season. This week we’ll also sit down with Dylan Parker, Nick Wallace and Cullen Willox.
Know Your Bobcat – Matt Perry