Nick DiNicola knew he was going to get hit.
It was the third period of last year’s MASCAC championship game, and his Fitchburg State team was cradling a 1-0 lead over UMass Dartmouth, hoping to become the first team in program history to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.
Before bracing for contact, DiNicola (Wolcott, Conn.) sent a cross-ice saucer pass that skidded right to the stick of linemate Tyler Warila, who buried it just inside the near post.
In a Fitchburg State career that’s seen him collect 62 assists in his first three seasons, DiNicola calls that one his favorite.
“And (Warila) hammered it home,” he said. “That gave us a two-goal lead and kind of put the nail in the coffin, and helped our team win the championship. That’s why that was my favorite; winning a title is more important to me than individual numbers.”