CEDAR RAPIDS — Bryce Aneloski took a psychological exam Monday afternoon.
“It was 128 questions,” Aneloski said. “One of them was something like ‘In the future, where would you like to live? In the woods by yourself or in the suburbs?’”
It’s an exciting time for the 19-year-old from Pekin, Ill., even if he does have to answer questions like that. The RoughRiders are on a second-half roll with the USHL playoffs approaching in three weeks.
He leads league defensemen in scoring (51), tying University of Denver freshman Matt Donovan for the RoughRiders’ single-season record in that department. With two assists in a win last weekend over Waterloo, he broke Donovan’s club mark for career points by a defenseman (83).
And he has a chance to get selected in this summer’s NHL draft. The Ottawa Senators talked to him after a recent game, sans the psychological profile.
“That’s what I want, that’s my goal,” Aneloski said. “If anything, if I don’t get drafted, that’ll keep making me work harder. You look at (former Rider) Casey Wellman. He just signed a great contract (with the Minnesota Wild) as a free agent.
“There are a bunch of different ways you can get to the NHL, and that’s my goal. Whatever route I have to take.”
Aneloski played the 2007-08 season in Cedar Rapids, then spent half of last year with Providence College. He didn’t like it there and returned to the RoughRiders for the second half of the season.
His game has improved, as his 14 goals and 37 assists attest, and before Christmans he committed to Nebraska-Omaha.
“It’s great for him to get that (club) record,” said RoughRiders Coach Mark Carlson. “But the one thing that has defined how far Bryce has come is that I’m sure he’s happy with the record, but … I’m sure he would say he was (most) happy that we got the win.”
“It’s been a really good season,” Aneloski said, without hearing what his coach said. “But I think it’s just been a really good season for the team. It’s like if our team does well, everybody benefits.”
Aneloski benefitted from an off-season of regular running and a change in diet that helped him lose weight. The hardest thing to give up was ice cream.
“But it has really paid off,” Aneloski said.