This is the fifth in our Top 13 of 2013 series. Every day for the rest of 2013, we will count down the Top 13 moments/games of the year, with each program represented. With three Little East Conference Titles, several huge upsets over nationally ranked teams and some dramatic finishes-2013 was another step forward for UMass Boston Athletics.
While the 2011-12 academic year was deemed the "Year of the Freshmen," 2012-13 could easily be entitled the "Year of the Champions."
Three different programs hoisted Conference Championships and seven total teams hoisted some form of hardware throughout the academic year. No regular season trophy may have been sweeter than Men's Hockey earning their first Codfish Bowl Title since 2007.
After falling in the Championship Game of the annual tournament each of the previous three seasons, the Beacons' seniors made it a point of bringing home the 48th Annual Codfish Bowl Championship in front of their home crowd.
Senior Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.) was named Tournament MVP for his efforts, while fellow seniors Tim Richter (Naugatuck, Conn.) and Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) each joined him on the All-Tournament Team. The Beacons' fourth and final senior-captain Tim Niedzielak (Chicago, Ill.) was named the Lawrence F. Curran Award winner for his outstanding sportsmanship.
What made the moment so special, was the fact that the team got to enjoy the victory, after cruising to a pair of victories in the two-day tournament.
Men's Hockey opened the weekend with a 5-2 victory over the eventual ECAC Northeast Champion Wentworth Institute of Technology behind a three-point (1 G, 2 A) day from Florentino.
On day two it was DeGrazia and Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) carrying the Beacons' offense, as both players finished with a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win over Johnson & Wales University. Freshman goalie Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) added a then career-high 33 saves in the win, to help UMass Boston capture just their fourth title in 31 years playing in the Codfish Bowl Tournament.
After leaping out to a 4-1 lead 13 minutes into the second period, the Beacons found their lead cut to 4-3 just four minutes later; but ECAC East Freshman of the Year Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.) and Cam Harvey (Bow, N.H.) each added quick tallies before the end of the period, to put the game out of reach.
This January (4th and 5th), UMass Boston will look to win back-to-back Codfish Bowl Titles for the first time in program history.