When asked by a fan who the player to watch was in Saturday night’s game, UNC ice hockey general manager Colin Wahl instantly had an answer:
Sophomore forward Patrick O’Shaughnessy.
By the middle of the first period against Maryland, which turned into a 5-0 shutout victory for the Tar Heels, Wahl had evidence to back his claim up. Following a “spin-o-rama” play, senior forward Cole Kosowski passed the puck to O’Shaughnessy who weaved up the ice to face a lonesome Maryland goalkeeper. In close range, he fired the puck into the top of the mesh to secure his twelfth goal of the year – the most from any UNC player this season.
“He’s just a pleasure to watch out there,” first-year forward Matt Grady said. “He’s so skilled and he’s a team-first guy too. He’s making a bunch of great plays all over the ice. Not enough good things to say about him.”
While his general manager and teammates are unafraid to show their resounding praise, O’Shaughnessy is more hesitant to speak about his own success. To O’Shaughnessy, every play is a team effort, and without this, there can be no individual success. For every “me” studded compliment, O’Shaughnessy quickly turns it around into a “we” shrouded response.
“I play with two incredible players in [senior forward Henry Foster] and Cole [Kosowski], like, they make the game so easy, always able to find me when I’m open,” O’Shaughnessy said.
Although O’Shaughnessy attributes his talent to his own teammates, he won’t deny his hockey roots. Hailing from Toronto, the sport is practically built into his DNA. So when O’Shaughnessy eventually moved to Greensboro, he said he knew he wanted to join the hockey team, “no question,” after being admitted to UNC.
Once he joined the squad, he had an immediate impact, forming relationships with his teammates and cementing a strong presence on the ice. During a game against Virginia Tech in January, O’Shaughnessy scored an impressive no-look goal between the legs of the opposing goalkeeper. The play was later reposted by the National Hockey League and deemed “one of the most beautiful goals you’ll ever see.”
Even with all the accolades, the UNC hockey team is simply a way for O’Shaughnessy to have fun while spending time with his teammates. Not only does he have people to hang out with on the weekends now, which is “big” for the star player, but he has formed bonds that extend beyond the ice.