Hamilton native Drew Lorinchak displayed grit and determination on his path to earning a spot on a collegiate ice hockey team.
A youth player for the Washington Little Caps and the Ashburn Xtreme, Lorinchak competed for multiple teams in the North American Hockey League and played in the National Collegiate Development Conference before joining Endicott in 2020.
“Hockey is a very strange path ... you definitely have to pay your dues,” said Lorinchak, a Loudoun Valley High School graduate.
Lorinchak and his Endicott College teammates have displayed that same resiliency on their way to securing a coveted spot in the Frozen Four of the 2023 NCAA Division III men’s ice hockey tournament.
Endicott, a private college in Massachusetts, was on the brink of earning an automatic bid into the 2022 NCAA Tournament. With Endicott leading 2-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament championship game, the University of New England scored the tying goal with 49 seconds left in regulation before netting the game-winning goal in overtime.
Despite a strong regular season, Endicott did not receive one of three possible at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
“Ever since that game, we came into this season saying ‘this is our year.’ There are no exceptions other than making the NCAA Tournament and going deep,” Lorinchak said. “Our team is mostly juniors and seniors this year, very veteran heavy. A national championship was our only goal from the start of the year.”
So far, so good for Endicott this season. The Gulls (23-2-2) won both the CCC season and tournament titles and earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament. Endicott punched its first-ever ticket to the Frozen Four after scoring a trio of third-period goals to defeat Norwich 3-0 in the quarterfinal round on March 18.
Selected by the NCAA earlier this week as the host site for the Frozen Four, Endicott will host two semifinal games on March 24 and the championship game on March 26. Endicott will play Hobart and New England will face off against Adrian in Friday’s semifinal games.
“Our fans and the Endicott community have been second to none in supporting us this year,” Lorinchak said. “It’s definitely going to be home-ice advantage for us ... It’s really great for us to be able to stay home and stick to our routine.”
Lorinchak is in his third season at Endicott. Set to graduate this year, Lorinchak plans to return next year for his senior season and to work toward a Master of Business Administration.
As he’s done for each of the last seven years, Lorinchak will return to Loudoun County this summer to skate and coach with ColdRush Hockey in Ashburn.
For now, Lorinchak’s focus is on the Frozen Four and fulfilling his role as a veteran member of the Endicott hockey team.
“My role is to be a leader and to bring energy,” the 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward said. “I’m a third or fourth line guy. My job is to win face-offs, man the penalty kill ... and just play smart, responsible hockey.”
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