Utica University hockey standouts Cavanagh, Allen join ECHL team
Days after the top-ranked Utica University men’s hockey team’s season ended in overtime of the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, some players are making the jump to the pro level.
Defenseman and alternate captain Justin Allen and forward Regen Cavanagh have joined the Virginia-based Norfolk Admirals in the ECHL on amateur tryout contracts, Utica coach Gary Heenan and the team confirmed Wednesday.
In another move announced Wednesday, defenseman Connor Fedorek joined ECHL Kalamazoo.
Other players from the program this season are expected to join pro teams soon.
Both Allen and Cavanagh were in the lineup for their pro debuts Wednesday with Norfolk, which is playing in Quebec as part of a three-game series against the Trois-Riverès Lions.
Both Allen and Cavanagh were graduate students at Utica during the 2022-23 season and no longer have NCAA eligibility after standout careers with the Pioneers.
In the past, other players from Utica’s program have made the jump to the ECHL, which was formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League. The ECHL is considered the third level of pro hockey in the United States and a developmental league for the American Hockey League as well as the NHL. Norfolk is the affiliate of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Allen missed time with Utica after a shoulder injury at the beginning of November and returned in January. He totaled five goals and 14 assists in 18 games in his return.
Allen, the first defenseman with Utica to reach 100 carer points in program history, received first team All-United Collegiate Hockey Conference honors for a third consecutive season. Over five seasons, he finished with 108 points in a program-most 119 games with Utica.
In 29 games, Cavanagh had 12 goals and 31 points, which were sixth-most for Utica’s high-scoring offense. In five seasons, Cavanagh had 120 points in 110 games. He leaves Utica having played the second-most games in program history.
Notably, Norfolk’s owner and CEO is Patrick Cavanagh. He is Regen’s father.
Fedorek, meanwhile, played one season with Utica after transferring from NCAA Division I Ferris State.
He finished with four goals and 24 points in 28 games with Utica. He was 10th in points on the team this season.
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