In Team USA's 3-1 victory over Canada on New Year's Eve, Jordan Greenway was practically unstoppable. The 6-foot-5, 229-pound power forward counted on all three scores with a goal and two assists and pretty much got to go wherever he wanted.
When you're as big as Greenway, that's a perk. And we may only have seen the beginning of what the Boston University sophomore is capable of.
Drafted 50th overall by the Minnesota Wild in 2015, Greenway has refined his game since he was selected out of the U.S. National Team Development Program. His hands are more deft, his skating more fluid and all that makes the behemoth so much harder to deal with.
I've told this story before, but the first time I saw Greenway live, he was with the NTDP, facing off against the USHL's Bloomington Thunder. Greenway took a pass in his skates in the middle of the ice and Thunder defenseman Vince Pedrie lined him up for what I anticipated to be a huge hit. But upon contact, Greenway just steamrolled over Pedrie, barely breaking stride - I'm not even sure his head was up at the time. That was the raw power he possessed and in a year and a half of college since, he has honed his game, leading to his great work so far at the world juniors.
"For the most part, being bigger, I have to dominate down low, bring pucks to the net and create space for my linemates," Greenway said. "That's been my goal at B.U. and throughout this tournament and I'm gonna keep doing it."
Back in Boston, Greenway has been great for the Terriers. He stands second in team scoring to world junior teammate Patrick Harper (NSH) and is on pace to best his freshman totals. His penalty minutes have also increased and while that doesn't necessarily help his team, it's worth noting that there are a good dose of roughing minors in there. Once he turns pro, Greenway's aggression will be more welcomed.
The key for the mild-mannered Greenway is find the line between being Bruce Banner and The Hulk.
“I’m a pretty calm kid off the ice, but on the ice I’m pretty mean," he said. "I don’t let my emotions get too high or low, but I play a big, mean game. It will definitely help me at the next level. I might have to get a bit meaner, I don’t know yet. I’ll figure it out when the time comes.”
And while the NHL is finally catching on to the fact that smaller players can have outsized impacts on the game, there is definitely still room for a big, nasty dude who goes where he wants on the ice.
"Jordan is a phenomenal player," said defenseman Charlie McAvoy, a world junior and B.U. teammate. "He uses his body so well. When he gets the puck behind the goal line, he's a real S.O.B. to play against. He's not afraid to go to the net and not afraid to get physical. He's big for us."
With the medal round upon us, Greenway will need to keep playing big for Team USA as the games get more serious. Opponents would be smart not to get on his bad side, but with a gold medal on the line, don't be surprised to see Greenway motivated to be that unstoppable force he is capable of being.