For University of New Hampshire defenseman Brett Pesce, flying under the radar is something he’s grown accustom to.
From playing in the lesser-known Eastern Junior Hockey League to not getting an invite to the All-American Prospects Game, the Tarrytown, N.Y. product says the lack of attention does not even faze him anymore.
“I definitely feel like I’ve been a little bit under the radar,” Pesce said. “That’s good for me though because I just go out and play my game.”
Going out and playing his game is just what Pesce does, who is not the flashiest player by any means. Pesce has great size at six-foot-three and 175-pounds and uses it to his full advantage in the Wildcats’ own end. His puck moving ability is also what scouts are drawn to when Pesce is on the ice.
“I’m very aggressive defensively, especially in the corners and winning the battles,” said Pesce who has six points in 24 games this season. “I move the puck quick and occasionally join the rush and try to make things happen offensively.”
The offensive aspect of his game is what Pesce is trying to develop in addition to proving himself at the college level. Pesce says he has been working on his shot and compared to the beginning of the season has made it a point to join the play in transition.
In addition to flying under the radar, Pesce is known for being one of the youngest players on his teams. This year, Pesce is the youngest player on New Hampshire by more than two years. At last year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Pesce was the youngest 1994 birth year at the tournament. Despite his age, Pesce was one of the best players defensively at the Hlinka for the United States and logs lots of minutes for New Hampshire.
“I don’t really notice anything or act differently,” Pesce said. “At the beginning of the season it was more nerve wracking being the new guy, but my teammates always treat me like I’m one of the guys so it’s good.”
Maybe Pesce will burst onto the scene and be an early pick come draft day or maybe he will continue to fly under the radar and be a potential steal for an NHL team.
Only time will tell.
Until then, Pesce will continue to go about his business.
How much do you think you’ve grown as a player playing your first year at UNH?
I think I’ve grown a lot and a lot of that goes to the coaches. Coach (Jim) Tortorella has taught me a lot to help my defense. This is my first year really practicing every day and playing hockey every day which is nice. My body is learning how to deal with it both mentally and physically.
What’s been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make?
It probably not taking any games off and being as consistent as I can every single game and playing my game.
You didn’t get an invite to the USA Hockey’s All American Prospects Game. Was that a disappointment at the beginning of the season?
No, not really. I didn’t really think about it. I have a whole year to prove myself. I’ve just been working hard and staying focus for the next couple of month until the season ends and hope for the best.
UNH has really exceeded expectations going from unranked at the beginning of the year and now spending the last couple of months at or near the top of the polls. Do you think the team has over achieved?
From the first practice I knew we were going to be good. We’re really fast, our captain keeps us together, we have a lot of chemistry and we don’t have one crazy talented player who is going to take us to the championship, but we have a lot of good, solid guys who work hard to get the job done.