Senior Night victory illuminates bright playoff future for JCU Club Hockey


2021-2022 John Carroll Men’s Hockey Club Team (John Carroll Hockey)

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

John Carroll’s American Collegiate Hockey Association DI Club Hockey Team is a hidden gem of the University. Throughout the 2021-2022 season, the Blue and Gold Club Hockey team has maintained an impressive winning record.

The Blue Streaks ended their regular season competition on Saturday, Feb. 12 with a defining 9-2 victory against the Mercyhurst University Lakers at Gilmour Academy.

With the victory, John Carroll improved their season record to 19-10. 

“It was the best way to end the regular season,” said Jimmy Grable ‘22. “The entire night was awesome — from the ceremony to having all our families there for the win. We really couldn’t have drawn it up better.”

The John Carroll Club Hockey senior class, consisting of Grable, Patrick Gilbert, Carlo Bertoni, Max Wopperer, Michael Flocarre, Adam Glica, Andrew Fralich, Martin Moine and Brian Russell, were honored for their performances over the past four years. 

“It was a great feeling to come out on senior night and secure a dominating win,” said Gilbert. “This win capped off a sweep on the weekend which will hopefully give our group some momentum going into the playoffs!”

Right from the puck drop, the two teams played with intensity and grit. 

John Carroll made the first offensive mark on the game as Tyler Putnam ‘24 scored just two minutes into the first period, finding the top left corner of the goal off a pass from Sean Deakin ‘25. 

As the battle between the two teams continued, Lakers’ Riley Vertosmik was sent to the penalty box for hooking, giving John Carroll the opportunity to score a second goal.

Grable was able to get a long range shot off during the power play that was deflected by Mercyhurst goaltender Brady Grove. Deakin was there for the rebound, sending the puck into the back of the net, giving the Blue Streaks a two goal lead. 

Not pulling their foot off of the gas, the Blue and Gold found the back of the net once more as Grable tallied his first goal of the game with just over a minute left in the period to give John Carroll a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. 

Starting the second period in a similar fashion to the first, Fralich got the puck around the goalie within the first two minutes of the period as the Blue Streaks went up by four scores. 

Deakin wasted no time earning his second goal of the night as he finished a shot only 30 seconds after Fralich. 

After a coincidental penalty, both squads had four players out on the ice. 

The Lakers finally added a point to the scoreboard during this situation, but the Blue Streaks quickly retaliated with another Grable goal from the center of the ice as John Carroll remained ahead 6-1. 

Mercyhurst’s Matt Hill scored at the halfway point of the second period as the energy in the arena escalated.

Gaining momentum for the Blue and Gold, Putnam went one-on-one with goalie Brady Vickery on a fast break scoring the seventh goal of the night. 

Even with a five goal differential, the Lakers did not back down as the game’s intensity continued to heat up going into the third period. 

The Blue Streaks started the period down a player as a tripping penalty on Clay Gazdak ‘24 carried over after the intermission. 

The penalty box was becoming a familiar destination for both teams as the officials sent Mercyhurt’s CJ Natale to the “sin bin” for slashing. 

Once again in a power play, John Carroll capitalized on the opportunity. 

Deakin put the puck in the back of the net for the third time of the night, as he ended with a hat trick for the Blue and Gold. 

That was not the last goal for the Blue Streaks as they continued their offensive rampage. 

With seven minutes left to play, Payton Fogarty ‘25 passed the puck from the blue line to the front of the goal where Fralich finished his second shot of the night, pushing John Carroll to 9-2 over the Lakers. 

Blue Streak goaltender Moine played an almost perfect 60-minute game as he tallied 13 saves off of 15 shots on goal. 

“One of the biggest keys to our success this season has been the competitive nature that our group has,” said Gilbert. “Whether it’s at practice, the weight room, or pregame soccer, every guy wants to win and be the best. This has driven a lot of success as a group this season.”

This senior night victory also illuminated how the team’s success rests on the close bond of the players.

“This team has given me great friends, countless memories, and a sense of belonging,” said Grable. “Going to the rink every night with these guys has been nothing short of awesome.  I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the group we have in the locker room.”

The John Carroll Club Hockey team will be back in action this weekend as they host the CHMA playoffs at Gilmour Academy starting on Friday, Feb. 18. Ranked No. 4 in the league, they will first take on No. 5 Kent State University on Friday at 8:40 p.m.