WKTV - The Utica College men's ice hockey team was honored nationally on ESPN, beginning on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, Monday night, and running on other versions of SportsCenter throughout the day, Tuesday.
The Pioneers were recognized as part of the "Senior Night" segment, honoring winter and spring collegiate sports teams and specifically their upperclassmen, who had their seasons abruptly cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For UC, Joey Rutkowski, Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Daniel Fritz and Gianluca Baggetta made up the senior class whose careers ended early as they were about to begin their NCAA Tournament run.
"It's awesome," said Pioneers head coach Gary Heenan. "For our seniors get their names mentioned on ESPN and to show a picture of those four guys, it lessens the blow of having our season cut short, and puts a little good feeling into those four guys. So I'm really happy for those four guys, we zipped it off to their parent group, and it put a smile on our faces today for sure."
The seniors helped lead the Pioneers to a historic 25-2-2 year, setting the program's single-season record in wins, and ending the campaign on a 20-game winning streak.
They also won the UCHC regular season and postseason titles, the second conference postseason title in the last three years.
The Pioneers finished the season ranked No. 3 nationally in the USCHO.com poll, but were No. 1 overall in the NCAA PairWise ranking, which is the method used by NCAA selection committees to determine seeding and at-large bids for tournament play.
Due to restrictions, we are not allowed to include the ESPN segment on our website. However, to view the segment directly from the network in its entirety, click here.