Waterloo representation is currently somewhat limited in ECAC hockey. This winter, there are six former Black Hawks players skating for the group of prestigious schools located in the northeastern U.S. However, that number should grow during coming seasons. Current Hawks Emmett Croteau (Clarkson), Ben Robertson (Cornell), and Jake Schneider (Colgate) all plan to attend schools in the conference during the years ahead.
In past seasons, Waterloo has sent a prodigious amount of talent to ECAC programs. If not for the pandemic and the National Hockey League, Jack Drury would currently be a senior at Harvard. Only slightly more distant in the past, Jacob MacDonald’s route from the Hawks to the NHL included Cornell as an important waypoint. Meanwhile, ECAC programs have earned two national championships this century (Union in 2014 and Yale in 2013), with former Hawks Mitch Witek and Anthony Day contributing to the title run by Yale.
Ahead of the final weekend of ECAC regular season games, here’s what Hawks players have been up to in the conference this season.
Nic Belpedio • Fr.
Few Hawks alumni have enjoyed better first impressions at the college level than Belpedio. Back on October 2nd, Colgate visited RIT for Belpedio’s first NCAA appearance; the freshman scored on his first shot less than three minutes into the matchup. The Raiders went on to a 5-2 win. He struck again for another goal two games later on October 9th during a 2-1 road victory at Vermont. Belpedio now has four goals and five assists in 28 appearances for the Raiders, who enter this weekend fifth in the 12-team conference.
Ryan Drkulec • So.
Harvard’s USHL-heavy roster includes Drkulec, who made his first NCAA appearance on January 2nd against Connecticut. Drkulec has played in five games this season, most recently during a matchup against Boston College in the annual Beanpot Tournament on Valentine’s Day.
Alex Gaffney • Fr.
A perfect three-game weekend could theoretically move the Crimson from third to second in the ECAC standings. Gaffney’s freshman season has already included goals against two of the opponents Harvard is about to visit: he scored against Union on January 8th and recorded a goal versus Princeton last Friday. That was his most recent point in a year which has included five goals and seven assists during 23 games. Ten of his 12 points have come against conference rivals. In addition to the Dutchmen and the Tigers, Harvard is also scheduled to play RPI during the homestretch.
Brock Paul • Jr.
Paul made his season debut during a Thanksgiving week game against Providence. He has been limited to six appearances this winter. Paul was last in the lineup against Colgate on January 29th. As a freshman in 2019/20, he had four assists in 24 games. Ivy League schools cancelled athletics for 2020/21 due to the coronavirus.
Ondrej Psenicka • Fr.
Last winter, Psenicka was unable to rejoin the Black Hawks for his second year in Waterloo due to the global pandemic. He made it across the Atlantic this fall, and the Big Red have been all the better for it. Psenicka currently leads Cornell with 12 goals. He 17 points ranks sixth on the squad. Psenicka was named co-ECAC Rookie of the Week on January 10th after recording a goal and two assists during a non-conference weekend against North Dakota. More recently, he had two goals and an assist in a 6-2 Saturday win versus Clarkson; one score was on the power play while the other came shorthanded. The result puts Cornell three points ahead of Colgate for fourth place in the conference.
Tony Stillwell • Sr.
The Bobcats are one win away from clinching the ECAC title. Stillwell is in his first year with the program after transferring from conference rival Brown. He is taking advantage of an extra season of eligibility following what would have otherwise been a washout of his senior season. On the ice for a dozen games this year, Stillwell has two assists, both coming in a January 18th game versus Princeton. Stillwell did not play during any games in November or December, but has returned to the lineup more recently. He is eight appearances shy of 100 in his college career.
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