By Meaghan Cahill ’20
Last weekend was a weekend of firsts for Providence College Men’s Ice Hockey player Anthony Florentino ’17. He scored his first ever career hat trick during the Friar’s 5-3 win over Univeristy of Maine. When asked what that feeling must have been like, Florentino stated, “It’s cool to say I’ve finally scored a hat trick in my hockey career…15-17 years of playing and it’s my first one.”
It was this that earned him his first Hockey East weekly nod as he was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. Florentino is only the second Friar defenseman to score a hat trick throughout Hockey East this season and the seventh to do so in the past three seasons. Before the UMaine game, the last Friar to score a hat trick was Jake Walman ’18 on October 30, 2015 against Colgate.
He was very humbled when speaking about this honor, giving all of the credit to his teammates. “Realistically, that wouldn’t have happened without my teammates. It came from the game I had a hat trick in, but if you look at the three goals it was all generated by forwards…they made everything happen.”
As a senior on the team, Florentino has quite the career under his belt, including a National Championship win and two appearances in Fenway Park’s “Frozen Fenway.” As a Boston native, Florentino said the past experience of playing in America’s beloved ballpark, even though the game resulted in a loss, was “awesome.” It was also a game that held meaning for him as a player, “My brother’s boot camp went out for the Coast Guard, and it was the last game he saw me play, as a Friar, so it was a pretty special experience being at Fenway.”
With this being his last season as a Friar, Florentino is setting his goals high and expecting nothing less than perfection as the season enters its final four games before the Hockey East tournament. When questioned about his goals for his final season, there was no hesitation in his voice, as he quickly stated, “I want another National Championship.” He went on to say, “Obviously that’s the ultimate goal. Gotta win Hockey East first though. End result for my senior year: going out on top.” He does not want the Championship just for himself but “for the school, the team, the city even.” Florentino was on the team that won that National Championship in 2015 against Boston University, a memory that he says is his favorite as a Friar. Reflecting back on the game, Florentino says, “That team was pretty special…[winning] was an amazing experience.”
Florentino, who was drafted during the fifth round of the NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres in 2013, has no regrets when it comes to his career at Providence College. “Not a thing,” was his answer when asked if there was anything he would have done differently, “Best three years of my life so far.”
However, the season is not over yet. Ranked fifth overall in Hockey East and 10th overall in the country with a nine game win streak, the men’s hockey team will have back-to-back away games against Notre Dame (ranked third in Hockey East and 15th in the country) Feb. 17-18 before they come back to Massachusetts to face off with UMass Amherst at Amherst on Feb. 24. The Friars will conclude their regular season in Schneider Arena on Feb. 25 against UMass Amherst.
“Focus on the games we have to play,” Florentino states, regarding what needs to be worked on going into the final few games and the tournament. “We started off pretty slow, a little up and down, but lately we’ve been putting it all together, a five-man effort out there. The younger guys are stepping up and everyone is coming together as one and playing a complete game.”
When asked if he had any last words he would like to say before the interview concluded, Florentino acknowledged the fans who have always supported the team and with a big smile said, “Go Friars!”