by Sam Scanlon ’19
When the Class of 2018 first stepped on the ice at Schneider Arena four years ago, they would never have expected their college careers at Providence College to go the way they did. This year’s senior class celebrated their Senior Night in style last Friday as they defeated the University of Maine 3-2 in overtime. As their season draws to its end, along with their college hockey careers, the 2015 national championship banner still hangs high in the rafters. The final wave of National Champions will soon take their last strides with the Skating Friar proudly on their chest, but their legacy will forever remain.
This year’s class is tightly knit and collectively a great group of leaders in the locker room. Captain Brian Pinho ’18 commended those who came before him, such as National Hockey League players Noel Acciari ’15 and Mark Jankowski ’16, saying, “They did a good job of taking us under their wings and showing us the ropes, while reinforcing the culture of our team. The upperclassmen on the team now have done a good job of bringing our young team along.” Pinho also described their journey together saying, “These past four years have been unbelievable, and it’s been awesome to play with my best friends for four years. We are such a close group, and we love being with each other.”
Perhaps the biggest underdog story of this class is goaltender Jake Beaton ’18. Beaton joined the squad this season as the team’s emergency goalie. Last year, he was stopping pucks for the College’s club team but was granted the incredible opportunity to play Division I hockey for his senior year. The Falmouth, Massachusets native made his first collegiate appearance late in the third period against Arizona State University at PPG Paints Arena on Dec. 30. Although it was just a few minutes on the ice, he got the experience of a lifetime for a team so close to home compared to some of his teammates, who live much farther away.
For example, hailing all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, Truman Reed ’18 found a home 4,500 miles away in Providence, Rhode Island. Standing at 6’2” and 212 lbs., he is one of the biggest defensemen on the team. Reed made his collegiate debut last season versus Hockey East foe Northeastern University. He plays a physical role when on the ice- a role that is sometimes lacking on the Friars’ roster. Thus, in games with Reed in the lineup, the Friars physicality has been enhanced.
Texas is not exactly considered a hockey hotbed, but Alex Cromwell ’18, a McKinney, Texas native, defied the odds and became a part of the Providence College hockey program. Like Reed, Cromwell stands tall and uses his large frame as a power forward. As one of the program’s best students, Cromwell won the John Ferguson Award, which recognizes the player with the highest GPA on the team, two years in a row.
The Friars’ firecracker is forward Robbie Hennessey ’18 out of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania. Standing at 5’10” Hennessey is one of the smaller players on the team. Despite his small size, he is always buzzing all over the ice. Hennessey has embraced his role as a grinder as he loves to play the body and block shots. As another top scholar on the team, Hennessey has made the Hockey East All-Academic Team in each of his first three seasons and is well on his way to a fourth. Hennessey has appeared in 95 games as a Friar, posting 15 points on four goals and 11 assists. His high speed and energy on the ice will be missed.
Friar superstar and team captain Pinho was the last honoree this past Friday night. Pinho has been nothing short of spectacular throughout his four year career at PC. He has appeared in 144 games thus far and has registered 108 points on 38 goals and 70 assists. Among his many awards and other accolades, he was named the 2016-2017 Team MVP.
Along with his dominant play on the ice, Pinho has demonstrated his outstanding leadership qualities as captain of this year’s team and assistant captain last year as a junior. “I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility” Pinho said. “I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard everyday.” His leadership has allowed a young team to excel and exceed all expectations.
Now that his four years have come and gone, Pinho offered some advice for the underclassmen and future Friars. He said, “My advice to the younger guys is to cherish their time here because it flies by. Also, I would tell them to never take anything for granted because this has been the best four years of my life.”
Congratulations and best of luck to the Class of 2018, but before you go, bring back another championship.