Photo Credit: Danny Wild-USA Today Sports
For John Keranen, he has benefited greatly from playing with Colin. Bilek. The Delano Minnesota native has learned from him and grown in big moments this season. Keranen loves the simplicity of “coming up the hill to see all the guys.” He loves being a part of the team. He expects to be an engineer in the Army, and picked where he wanted to go on academics. West Point has one of the best engineering programs in the world, and given Keranen’s goals, it makes sense. The former Delano High School star has also already exceeded his college career-high in one season in goals this year and is building on his success with the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL with the Black Knights.
As to the first time he was seen by West Point, like so many other players, it came at the NAHL Showcase with the Magicians. Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie simply wanted to get the talented forward to campus. Once Keranen got to campus to see the school, the choice was clear. West Point was for him.
As for his current linemate, Colin Bilek, Keranen said that “Colin is a great leader, and he works very hard, he leads by example which is great and is what you want out of a captain.” Keranen is inspired by the effort that Bilek has. He said of that ” that motivates me, and playing on a line with him I don’t want to let him down, I try to bring my best along with him every day. ”
He knows consistency is important, and praised Head Coach Brian Riley for maintaining consistency in the program, especially when the team is winning in bunches like it did in the second part of last season. Of playing for Riley, Keranen thinks he makes everyone a better leader because he said of Riley leading by example ” we can all look at him and what he’s done with the program.” Keranen is a player that thrives on consistency and drive, and values leaders with those characteristics.
On the ice, Keranen thinks he is playing the game more confidently. He praised his teammates for helping him improve to be able to make even better choices with the puck, and for guiding him in his time at West Point. He also thinks that playing more top-six minutes has helped his confidence grow over time as well.
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