The 20-year-old has also become a team leader for the rising Coastal Division contenders
The New England Stars players got together and determined they could do more.
With a five-game winning streak, they have pulled themselves within three points of the lead and one point of second place in the North American 3 Hockey LeagueCoastal Division.
“Lately in practice, we’ve been trying to push each other harder,” said Connor Barter, a third-year Stars player, who helped get the winning streak going with an effort that led to him being named divisional Player of the Week Jan. 15. “We pushed the intensity for practices and tried to bring that to games.
“We came together as a team and realized that we just weren’t playing hard enough and we could do a lot better. We pushed each other to work harder.”
The winning streak began Jan. 8 with a 3-0 win over Maine.
Barter got involved in the scoring during a 6-2, 13-3 sweep of the Skyland Kings. The 20-year-old from Lowell, Massachusetts, had a goal and two assists on the final three goals to break open the first game between the teams. In the second, he joined Luke Church in each getting a hat trick and two assists. Barter did all his goal-scoring during a six-goal second period.
The hat trick was the third of the season for Barter and his fourth multi-goal game in a 10-game stretch that began with a hat trick.
Barter takes pride in scoring goals. His ability to finish was on display at the NA3HL Showcase in Blaine, Minn., when Barter scored just 31 seconds into the opener in which he produced two goals in a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Knights.
That game brought out extra interest from more schools and gave Barter a boost in his hopes of playing college hockey a year from now.
“A lot of people I talk to say they’re looking to add a goal scorer,” Barter said. “That’s what I bring to the table.”
It is a role to which Barter has grown accustomed.
“I was a goal-scorer early,” said Barter, who played four years at Lowell High School before beginning his three-year junior career in which he has scored at least 18 goals each season. “I usually led my youth teams in scoring. I take pride in scoring.”
That pride has brought Barter back on to the ice recently to put in extra time working on his breakaway moves after struggling in that area this season.
Barter, who has since added two more assists for 21 goals and 23 assists in 33 games, has become comfortable in another role as well.
Playing close to home, just across the state border in Hudson, N.H., Barter’s family has opened its home as a billet family. This season it has worked out for Barter, the team’s second-oldest player, to host younger teammates.
“It’s better for them to be around someone who has been on the team for a while and can give them an idea what it’s like,” Barter said.
Barter has begun taking college classes part-time and hopes to remain in the New England area while playing hockey and pursuing studies in sports management.