Offensive Defenseman

Gavin Bayreuther '17 is the first defenseman to lead Saints men's hockey in scoring

Wally Johnson

College hockey can thank the Cardigan Mountain School jayvee team for one of the most prolific two-way defensemen in the sport.

St. Lawrence University junior Gavin Bayreuther of Canaan, New Hampshire, became the first defender to lead the team in scoring in program history in 2015-16 when he notched 12 goals and finished the year with 29 points. Add the scoring to a defensive presence that helped the Saints record one of the best team goals-against averages in program history for the second straight year, and you have the reasons why Bayreuther earned first-team All-ECAC defenseman and second-team All-America honors. Just the eighth player to earn All-America recognition as a junior, he joins Arlie Parker ’62, Pat Presley ’59 and Hank Lammens ’88, all members of the Saints Athletics Hall of Fame, as defensemen who earned that distinction.

Bayreuther will head into his senior season as one of the top-scoring defensemen in program history and should move well up that list from his current tie for sixth. All because the Cardigan Mountain School was short on defensemen.

“I was a forward growing up, and that was where the scoring knack started,” Bayreuther explained. “Our jayvee team at Cardigan Mountain needed some defensemen, and I thought it would be a good transition. I have always had that offensive instinct. Playing lacrosse as an attackman also helped with the offensive skills.”

Associate Head Coach Mike Hurlbut ’89, a defenseman with offensive abilities and an All-American himself as a Saints player, likens Bayreuther’s talents to those of All-American Zack Miskovic ’09, the season record-holder for goals by a defenseman with 16. “Gavin has had the knack for getting the puck into the net since the first game I saw him play,” Hurlbut said. “He’s a shooter. He had a huge freshman year (at St. Lawrence), and sophomore year there were a lot of expectations, but he became a better defenseman that year and this past year put it together at both ends of the ice.”

Bayreuther learned to play with a lot of different defensive partners in 2015-16. Between injuries and the coaching staff wanting to get different players into the lineup, he played with six other defensemen. It wasn’t until mid-January that he went a stretch of four games with the same partner.

“It seemed like I played only two games with the same guy both times through the first two-thirds of the season,” Bayreuther said. “I was on different sides every night and every guy is different, but at the same time, it’s a cool thing to have your teammates trust you and be able to do that.”

“Gavin evolved because of the different partners, and that helped make his year what it was,” Hurlbut said.

In addition to leading the team in scoring, Bayreuther was among the leaders in big goals. He scored the game-winner seven times over his past two seasons, and assisted on four others. His biggest? Against Clarkson, game two of the 2016 playoffs, second overtime, Saints up one game to none. “No matter when you score is pretty cool,” he said. “That Clarkson goal—beating your rivals in OT to go to Lake Placid—that was special.”