Excelling in the rink: Pierce pulls weight in fifth year

Andrew Pierce has played on the Keene State College club hockey team for the past four years. He is currently an assistant captain and plays on the team’s first line with Kurt Mitchell and Kyle Carignan. This is his fifth year on the team.

“It has been a tremendous experience,” said Pierce.

Pierce talked about how much the team has grown in the last four years he has been a part of it.

Tim Smith/ Photo Editor

Tim Smith/ Photo Editor

“When I was a [first-year], we were a below .500 team, and then my senior year we made it to the national tournament. I think the growth speaks volumes to the guys on the team and the coaching staff,” said Pierce.

Bobby Rodrigue has coached Pierce  every year and had nothing but good things to say.

“Well, he has been with us for four years so we’ve all had our ups and downs, but it’s really been a lot of fun watching him grow and develop as a person and as a player,”  Rodrigue said.

Rodrigue couldn’t decide what was the most valuable asset Pierce brought to the team. He said it was a toss-up between his commitment to the team and his athletic abilities.

In Pierce’s latest game against UNH, he put his commitment and his athletic abilities on full display. He led his team to a 4-2 victory by scoring three goals, including the tying goal with about five minutes left in the game. He iced the game with an empty net goal with less than a second remaining.

Pierce may not be captain this year, but that doesn’t change the way he is going to play the game.

“I don’t look at it as having less responsibility, I look at it as continuing to do what I did last year,” Pierce said.

Mitchell, being the captain this year, thought Pierce did a great job wearing the C last season.

“Previously, we have had captains that either took the role way too serious or way too lackadaisical, where they didn’t care about things or anything anyone did was a problem. He had a good balance between the two, so seeing the past years and how effective that was and where it took us last year, it helps give me a direction on where to take leadership this year,” Mitchell said.

Tim Smith/Photo Editor

Tim Smith/Photo Editor

Pierce has a knack for scoring big goals. One of Pierce’s favorite goals he ever scored came last year against William Paterson University. “My favorite memory, personally, is scoring the overtime goal against William Paterson last year,” Pierce said. Keene was 1-4 at the time and facing an undefeated WPU squad. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime, and after that game, Keene won eight of their next 10 games.

Pierce also mentioned how his favorite overall memory was when Mitchell scored the game-winning goal against Northeastern University, to send the Owls to Nationals Mitchell’s favorite memory of Pierce was also the William Paterson goal.

“I would say [the best goal] last year [was] at William Paterson, the overtime goal. They were number one and we beat them in overtime. Since then, last year we were just rolling. I think that goal played a huge role in our success last year,” Mitchell said. Pierce has talents on the ice, but what is his best quality off the ice?

“His ability to schmooze people,” said Mitchell with a smile on his face. “No matter where we go we make friends”.

 Austin Sanidas can be contacted at ASanidas@kscequinox.com

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