Ice hockey seniors can't believe their time's done at Munn Ice Arena
On the final home game of the season for the Spartans, seniors forward Dylan Pavelek, defenseman Carson Gatt and goaltender Ed Minney were honored before the game on their four-season careers at MSU.
During his time in college, Minney said people told him the years will fly by. He didn't want to believe it. At least not until Saturday night.
“It went by really fast,” Minney said. “Everyone tells you when you get here, 'enjoy the four years, 'cause they’ll go by before you know it.' I didn’t really believe them, and going out there tonight was pretty special because you blink twice and the next thing you know it’s your senior year.”
Before puck drop, the three seniors did one final lap around the lap to the song of their choice and took a family photo with their parents. Before heading into the locker room, they laid at center ice and kissed the Spartan head.
“I think the weirdest part was the ceremony before with the video and final lap, because you see the other guys go through it three years before,” said Gatt, who played the most out of his two teammates this season on the first line of defense. "You say, 'well, eventually that’s going to be me,' and keep on pushing back the day until it’s finally here, so I think that’s when it really hit me.”
Heading into their final season, the program switched things up on the team by bringing in new head coach Danton Cole.
Cole said he feels the seniors have stepped up in their positions both on the ice and in the locker room to bring this team where it needs to be in the season and heading into the future.
“You look back on it, and they have given a lot to the university in four years,” Cole said. “We put a lot on these guys right from the spring last year and there were some things we wanted to change.”
In their four seasons, these seniors have won one Duel in the D and one game during the Great Lakes Invitational while remaining toward the bottom of their conference.
Gatt described the team as hard working and said the team should not be at the bottom of the Big Ten. He said he hopes the senior legacy of hating to lose rather than loving to win continues with the current players and new ones who will be joining for seasons to come.
“To kind of establish a winning culture,” Gatt said. “After last night’s game, coach wrote on the board, 'Happy, but not satisfied,' and I think that sums it up real well to get our team in the future a position where we win on Friday night that's not enough.”
Pavelek played a total of seven games in his final season and was scratched Saturday night because of a lower body injury. This was his second injury of his career as a Spartan since his concussion during his freshman season.
Minney and Pavelek played under head coach Danton Cole while playing for the USA National Team Development Program before coming to MSU.
“(Pavelek) and Ed know the kind of ship that I want to run and our staff does,” Cole said. “They helped tremendously, and Gatter’s buy in has been out of this world. All three of those guys in three different situations in their roles on the team has been really good.”
Their season is not over yet, though. Friday and Saturday, the Spartans head to Notre Dame to play their last two games in the regular season before the Big Ten Tournament.
“I think I’ve grown as a player and as a person,” Minney said. “Being a Spartan here and everything that has gone on has shaped me for the future.”