By Warren Kozireski —
Not sure what Utica College junior forward Shane Murphy has been having for breakfast lately, but as is true with any good streak, he should not change a thing.
He entered the final weekend in January with ten points in 17 games and, four games later, more than doubled that total with 11 points in four games. Included was his first collegiate hat trick and four-point game against Nazareth on January 26th.
“I’m just trying to make plays,” Murphy said. “Some days you can find a way to get it to the net and sometimes guys are open, and they can find it for you, so just the way it goes.
“I thought our line was creating opportunities and capitalizing on what we’re doing. Trying to slow it down sometimes has been a struggle for me and focusing on that.”
Murphy stands tied for second for the second ranked Pioneers in points with 21 and second in assists with 15 setting career highs in both over the first 21 games this season.
“Being an older guy on the team helps; it comes with the guys that I watched play before me and I kind of pick up on things and try to see what works. Watching that day in and day out and playing with those guys really helped my game, so just learning from what I see.”
The 5’11”, 181 lb. 23-year-old started with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Knights in 2015-16 before spending the next season with the Buffalo Regals. The next two campaigns were with Trinity Pawling High before he returned to the NAHL with Wilkes Barre/Scranton in 2019-20 and Danbury for their inaugural season in 2020-21.
“I moved away from home when I was 15 to go to Wilkes and then I was contacted by Kyle Quick from the Buffalo Regals, and it just seemed like the right place to go at the time. We played against a lot of really good teams, so the exposure (college scouts) was always great and that’s what I was looking for.
“I loved it in Danbury too to help build that program up and just keep progressing.”
And then he was able to return to virtually his backyard to advance his career at the college level.
“I wouldn’t say that it was always my plan (to play at Utica), but when I got the opportunity, I definitely wasn’t going to pass it up. It’s close to home and a great place to play; probably one of the best in D3 if not the best, so I’m glad I came here.
“I have a lot of family that can come and watch me at all the home games, and I even had some family here (at Nazareth), so it’s great.”
Murphy recently changed his major from Sports Management to Business Management looking ahead even though it is another season-plus away.
“Just to keep things a little more broad, I just feel like if I can get into the sports industry, it would be great, but I want to have the opportunity to have other doors open as well.”
Utica again is knocking on the door of their first national championship having advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of the last three seasons and four times in program history (2013, 2020, 2022, and 2023), so Murphy is on securing at least one ring before he has to worry about what is next.
(Photos provided by Utica College Athletic and Hockey Departments)