MIH: Senior Night celebration leads to MAC Championship title

The first graduating class for the No. 9 Men’s Ice Hockey team celebrated its accomplishment on Saturday against Stevenson University where Wilkes won the MAC Championship 3-1. That same day, the Colonels recognized 15 seniors and one graduate student.

“It is hard to sum up our senior class in a few words but I know one of them is resilient,” said head coach Tyler Hynes. “This group does not blink, they attack adversity and welcome challenge. Bunch of blue-collar colonels with white-collar talent.”

Wilkes honored seniors (by jersey #) Nico Pidro, Dylan Kuipers, Jay Gallagher, Tyson Araujo, Donald Flynn, Michael Gurska, Tyler Barrow, Devon Schell, Nick Fea, Ben Stefanini, Danny Reidel, Ryan Galvin, Scott Mueller, Phil Erickson, Tyler Dill, and graduate student Xavier Abdella.

“This senior class means everything to the program, They built this team from the ground up and have great pride in wearing the Colonel logo,” said junior Billy Berry. “They make it easy for newcomers to feel welcome and be a part of the Wilkes hockey culture.”

Pidro leaves the Colonels with a career-high of 31 saves in a single game in the 2021-22 season against Utica College. During the regular season, Pidro had a total of 222 saves with a .945 save percentage.

Kuipers had six goals on the year along with six assists. Defensively, Kuipers added 21 blocks with a game-high of three this season. His 79 career blocks helped lift Wilkes over some of their toughest rivals. 

Gallagher added nine goals, three assists and 16 blocks for the Colonels this season. He had a game-high of two goals in their 4-2 win over Chatham University.

Araujo scored two goals and also connected with his teammates for 11 assists leading to big goals this season. His season-high of two assists in a single game helped boost Wilkes over Lebanon Valley 8-1.

Flynn led the team in assists this season with 26, while also adding seven goals and six blocks. Throughout his career as a Colonel, Flynn has chipped in 88 assists along with 56 goals and 859 face-off wins – the most in Wilkes history.

Gurska helped Wilkes’ defense by adding 22 blocks this season, 122 overall, preventing opposing goals. Offensively, Gurksa notched five goals and assisted 10 Colonel goals this year.

Barrow added 12 goals and 22 assists for Wilkes on the year. Over his career as a Colonel, Barrow tallied a total of 49 goals, 77 assists, and 235 face-off wins.

Schell contributed five goals and 10 assists this season along with nine blocks for the Blue and Gold. Schell’s game-high of two goals helped lift Wilkes over Neumann University 9-5.

Fea accounted for 12 goals, 13 assists and seven blocks this season. He leaves his Wilkes ice hockey career with a total of 39 goals and 77 assists in the regular season.

Stefanini helped boost the Colonels over Lebanon with a game-high of two goals for an 8-1 win. He scored the first goal of the game and his second goal was a buzzer-beater at the end of the second period. Stefanini has also contributed to 30 face-off wins this season.

Reidel added 14 goals, 18 blocks and nine assists during his hockey career at Wilkes.

Galvin assisted his fellow skaters 12 times and added 10 blocks throughout his hockey career. Galvin’s season-high of three assists helped lead Wilkes over Lebanon in the 8-1 win.

Mueller’s 48 career blocks contributed to big defensive stops for the Colonels. This year, Mueller’s game-high of 4 blocks helped lead Wilkes over Nazareth College in their 7-0 win.

Erickson’s 12 goals and 11 assists this season helped Wilkes overcome many of their opponents. In his career, Erickson has scored 36 goals and added 52 blocks for the Colonels.

Despite Dill’s short career at Wilkes, his contributions to the team have been immense in these past two seasons. Dill added 22 goals, 20 assists, as well as winning 54 face-offs for the Blue and Gold.

Finally, Abdella contributed 17 blocks, three assists, and one goal this season for Wilkes. His defensive presence was made known in many of the Colonel wins this season and in previous.

While all of these statistical accomplishments are to be noted, these skaters are leaving a legacy behind for all of the remaining and upcoming Wilkes Colonels as they are the first senior class of the men’s ice hockey program.

All statistics were acquired from gowilkesu.com.

The Beacon/Baylee Guedes Men’s ice hockey seniors pose for program’s first-ever senior night photo.
Senior Donald Flynn looks to score on Stevenson.
Senior Ben Stefanini eager to gain control of the puck.
Senior Jay Gallhager battles for the puck.
Senior Tyler Barrow plans his attack.