By Warren Kozireski —
In 2020-21 with Chicago in the USHL, Matthew Coronato led the league in goal scoring (48) and plus/minus (+37) and finished second with 85 points (48 goals, 37 assists) in 51 games setting a USHL record with an average of .94 goals per game, and recorded a 28-game point streak spanning back to the 2020-21 season, also a USHL record. He was named 2021 USHL Forward of the Year and parlayed that into being selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft 13th overall by Calgary.
As a freshman at Harvard in 2021-22, all he did for an encore was finishing as one of the top rookie skaters in all of college hockey, recording 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games, leading all NCAA first-years with 1.06 points per contest, was an ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team honoree, Ivy League Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Ivy League and led the Crimson with 10 multi-point games.
Now halfway through his sophomore season, the 5’10”, 185 lb. center stands seventh in the nation in points per game (1.36) with six goals and nine assists over 11 games for the later-starting Ivy League team.
“Playing a little more center this year, so I keep trying to improve on the defensive side of the game, faceoffs and being in the right spots because good defense will lead to good offense,” Coronato said after a recent game at Cornell.
He is living up to the faceoff improvement winning 54.5% of his draws.
“Being strong on my stick, winning battles, being in the right spot; all those things put them together and it helps team win and helps the team do what we need to do, structure and all that so it’s definitely been a key.”
Before his junior hockey, Coronato spent 2016-17 with the New Jersey Colonials, 2017-18 with the Long Island Gulls and 2018-19 with Salisbury Prep before heading to the USHL.
“Just trying to play for different coaches and learn from as many different people as I could. I think I was lucky I got to play for a lot of great coaches. A lot of people have helped get me to where I am today.”
The 2021 NHL Draft was held online due to the pandemic, so Coronato and his draft year colleagues didn’t get the experience of going on stage and pulling the jersey over his head, but he is content with how everything played out.
“It’s still an unbelievable honor to be drafted, so I don’t think it really took much away from it. Honored to be picked by the Flames and excited for the future.”
The just turned 20-year-old (Nov. 14) capped his first collegiate season scoring the game-winning overtime goal in the ECAC Hockey Championship game vs. Quinnipiac on March 19.
“It was definitely a fun moment to be able to do that with the team and get the win; there have been a lot of great moments, but that one is up there for sure. Winning the Clark Cup with the Chicago Steel was obviously a great accomplishment, so I’ve been a part of two great groups the last two years and I’m really grateful for that.”
Harvard was off to an 8-2-1 start and ranked ninth in the Dec. 5 national poll as they took a break in the schedule for finals and the holiday.
(Harvard hockey photos)