During the last four years, Conti has evolved from being a talented young player to the leader of the Pioneers. His work on and off the ice has Duchesne [14-4] locked in as the top club in the Mid-States St. Charles Conference.
Conti, a senior forward and captain for the Pioneers has been one of the area’s most prolific scorers this season as he is third in the area with 37 goals heading into Duchesne’s season finale against Fort Zumwalt East at Rec-Plex South on Saturday, Jan. 26. His scoring skill and puck savvy have made him the heartbeat of Pioneers on the ice.
“In the four years that he’s been at Duchesne, he has been one of our more skilled players. In his last three years, he’s really taken on a leadership role in the locker and is proving to kids how to play the game and how to act off the ice,” Duchesne coach Joe Rupp said.
Conti, who, also goes by the nickname “Vinny,” scored 29 goals as a junior last season. He said he did not really expect this season to take off the way it has, but is enjoying the ride and credits his teammates for the success he has had to date.
“… they just help me and give me the puck in the greatest spots, and I just finish it, and it’s all good,” Conti said.
Scoring is not the only facet of Conti’s game that has come full circle this season. He also has morphed into an outstanding facilitator with the puck with 17 assists and 54 points.
“He sees the ice very well and he’s got really good hands and is a very good shot,” Rupp said. “He’s able to take advantage of certain layers of weaknesses and is able to see when plays are opening and developing.”
Another factor that has allowed Conti to be stronger on the ice is the offseason program he used to prepare for this season.
After dislocating his right shoulder in the spring, Conti went through a rigorous offseason program with physical therapy and weight lifting to toughen up his body.
“I lost a little bit but then I put on about 10 pounds; [the offseason program] did help me,” Conti said.
Conti, who is getting Division I ACHA hockey interest from Missouri State and Illinois State, is looking to achieve two major goals before the season is out. Break the program career points record of current Pioneer assistant coach Steve Kinnison and honor former late coach Dan Rupp, who passed away on Jan. 9, 2018, after a three-year battle with cancer.
He has 151 career points and needs just 13 points to break Kinnison’s record of 163 points.
“I hope I can get it, and we make a long run in the playoffs,” Conti said.
Honoring Dan Rupp’s memory has fueled Conti’s drive to lift the Pioneers as far as possible beyond the regular season and hopefully deep into in the Mid-States Wickenheiser Cup playoffs.
“I stopped playing club hockey to honor Coach Rupp this year and play for him,” Conti said. “So, I’ve dedicated this season to him winning the championship for the first time in Duchesne history would be great.”