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BNRinkside: The 2014-15 college hockey season in review

Let's be clear about one thing -- college hockey season never really ends. There's recruiting and pro deals and off-season workouts and always something to write about.

But as the official close to the 2014-15 season comes upon us, here's a look back at the season that was in Western New York and for Western New Yorkers. We started the season by looking at the state of college hockey in the 716 and asking Why Not Us?

After a slow start, Canisius caught fire in the second semester and made its third straight appearance in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals:

It was a challenging season for Niagara, which began with high expectations with a loaded sophomore class and highly-touted freshmen. But injuries kept Niagara on the wrong side of the struggle for most of the season. The Purps had their worst record in program history, but a late-season surge left the Purps feeling good about their future:

Outside of the 716, Western New Yorkers were making an impact on college hockey in all areas of the game:

  • It was an unusual send off for an student assistant equipment manager. But Amherst native Joe Vicario wasn't your typical student helper. The Amherst native spent four years helping out the RIT men's and women's hockey team, providing a role model for adversity. Vicario was born with a rare congenital birth defect, underwent 28 surgeries before he was 12 years old and then in 2012 he was diagnosed with an aggressive testicular cancer. "He doesn’t look at everything like a challenge, he just looks at everything like an opportunity."
  • Western New York's impact on the hockey world doesn't just come from producing players. Cheektowaga native and Buffalo State graduate Mark Randolph literally wrote the book on American officiating. He was honored by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference this year.
  • Eden native Alex Iafallo helped Minnesota-Duluth into the national spotlight and back to the NCAA regional final. The sophomore worked on developing versatility in his already gifted offensive game with former Buffalo Sabre Derek Plante.

And of course we had some fun at BNRinkside this year, including a few videos taking us behind the scenes:

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