On Tuesday night, new NCAA pick up Mike Vecchione made his NHL debut with the Flyers against the New Jersey Devils. The game was an overtime 1-0 loss, so it wasn’t too exciting, but Vecchione did impress his new coach. “I think good effort by [Morin and Vecchione],” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “Their second and third periods in particular were the best periods for both of them. I think that is what you would like to see.” NHL.com
The Flyers play the Blue Jackets on Saturday, but Vecchione won’t join them. He will be in Chicago for the Hobey Baker Award ceremony, where he could become the first Union College player to win the Award. The Dutchmen Captain is one of three finalists for the award, along with University of Denver defenseman Will Butcher and Northeastern University forward Zachary Aston-Reese.
Vecchione and Aston-Reese shared the NCAA scoring title. Both have 63 points, with Aston-Reese ahead in goals (31-29). But there’s an extra reason for Flyers fans to pray that Vecchione is given the award, a new layer to the Pennsylvania rivalry that you’ll be reminded of by NBC for the next few years. Aston-Reese recently signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Philly vs. Pittsburgh rivalry has now spread to the NCAA.
It would probably be a bit more fun if Union and Northeastern were NCAA rivals, and they could extend that rivalry into the NHL, but not everything can be perfect. The players most likely aren’t aware of the rivalry just yet, but you understand the Battle of Pennsylvania pretty quickly when you’re in it.
After winning the Hobey Baker (He definitely will right?) Vecchione will be back in Philly to play his first game on home ice at the Wells Fargo.