UTICA, N.Y. - It wasn't the year Utica Pioneers freshman forward, Brandon Osmundson, was expecting in his collegiate hockey debut; it was a heck of a lot better.
Osmundson was named the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Division III Rookie of the Year, Wednesday, becoming the first Utica College player to ever receive that honor.
"[When I found out] I was just like, wow what a year for our team." said Osmundson. "Winning 20 straight games and winning a conference championship, and to add that, that's a pretty special honor. I couldn't do it without my teammates."
The Chesapeake, Virgina native finished his campaign with 13 goals, 29 assists for 42 points, setting program rookie records in the latter two categories.
His 42 points were also fourth all-time in a single-season in program history overall.
I did not expect this at all," said Osmundson. "I was coming in just trying to battle for a spot like every other guy. Everybody on our team can step in any day and play. It was special playing with the group of guys we had this year."
The Pioneers finish a historic season at 25-2-2, the most single-season wins in program history, finishing on a 20 game winning streak. They were ranked third in the nation in the final poll of the year.
They also won the UCHC tournament title for the second time in three years, booking what would have been their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2012-13.
However, the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of the national tournament, and ended the team's season abruptly.
"Everything happened pretty quickly there," said Osmundson. "Honestly, we believed we had a chance and [it's tough], but it's out of our hands, we couldn't control that. I felt bad for our seniors: Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Daniel Fritz, Gianluca Bagetta and Joey Rutkowski, they lead us all the way, I looked up to them. They were true leaders."
Osmundson said that this experience has already provided the still young team with plenty of motivation to get back to that point and give themselves a chance next season.
"We're only losing four guys," he said. "We will be a very good team again. I think we'll be able to go on another run like this and hopefully be able to win another conference championship and go very deep into the [NCAA Tournament]."