JT Brown may be a rookie on a line with a pair of veterans, but he certainly doesn't look out of place.
Twelve games into his first Calder Cup run, the Syracuse Crunch forward has been counted on to provide timely goals and tough defense that wears down the opposition's top line. Flanked by JT Wyman and Mike Angelidis , Brown is learning from two guys with plenty of postseason experience.
"You don't have to do too much, they're always doing what they're supposed to," Brown said after practice Tuesday. Syracuse hosts Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals Saturday. "They're vets and they know what needs to be done."
Angelidis, the Crunch's captain who hoisted the cup with the Norfolk Admirals last season, has been impressed by Brown's effort every night.
"He's a fast learner," Angelidis said. "And we're learning things from him too. He's got a good head on his shoulders and he works hard."
"I just go out there and try to give it 100 percent every shift, try not to get scored on, shut down other team's lines and create a little secondary offense as well," Brown said.
Although he missed more than a month with an injury, Brown put up 28 points in 51 regular season games. In the playoffs, the 5-10 Minnesota-native has recorded seven points and is a plus-5.
"There's been ups and downs, that happens in every season," Brown said. "It's just how you come back from those."
Although all they contribute may not show up on the scoresheet, Crunch coach Rob Zettler believes the trio of Angelidis, Brown and Wyman has been the glue for his lineup.
"They're able to hem teams in their zone," Zettler said. "They not only play good defense, but they're able to get in on the forecheck and create some offensive zone time for their line…They're a tough line to play against."
Although he may not have the most experience of the three, Brown isn't letting that show.
"He's been consistent every night of the playoffs," Angelidis said. "That's hard to expect from a young guy, but he's really stepped up in that part for us."