McGrath, Nagy blue-line brothers at Holy Cross
College Football Videos
Ryan McGrath and Nilan Nagy grew up about 12 miles apart in suburban Pittsburgh.
It took them another 600 miles to become teammates.
The two defensemen are key parts of the College of Holy Cross hockey team this season.
McGrath, a junior, grew up in Mt. Lebanon, while Nagy, a sophomore, lived in Canonsburg.
They never met, though, until McGrath's freshman year at Holy Cross when Nagy visited the Worcester, Mass., campus.
“I had heard of him, but we never met personally,” McGrath said. “I ran into him on his visit, and he said he's from Canonsburg. It was really, really neat when I found out. It turns out we had a lot of mutual friends from back home. It's a neat experience to have two guys out here from Western Pennsylvania. We've become extremely close friends over the last two years.”
The two, who spend their summers in Pittsburgh, worked out together two summers ago before Nilan's freshman season with the Crusaders.
“The offseason I spent training with Ryan definitely helped me prepare to get stronger and faster,” Nagy said. “College hockey is a big step, but I was able to handle it.”
Nagy, a 6-foot, 196-pounder, played in 30 games for Holy Cross during his freshman season. He had six assists. This year, he had two goals and an assist in the team's first 10 games.
“It was a big adjustment coming in as a freshman. I had to work hard to be able to get in, especially with a lot of older guys,” he said. “I played junior hockey before I got here and that definitely helped me prepare for college. Going into my sophomore year, I kind of feel a little more relaxed. I know what to expect, and know how to prepare mentally.”
McGrath, 5-10, 195, played in one game his freshman year and nine games last season when he had a goal and two assists. He had one assist in the team's first seven games this season.
“We both play a very blue-collar, hard-working defensive game,” McGrath said. “None of us will put up that many points. We pride ourselves on our reliability in the defensive zone. We want to move the puck out, block shots and move bodies away from the front of the net.”
The two are waiting to play together as a defensive pairing.
“We like to bang the body in practice and get under guys' skin. If they do put us together, I think that'd be a pretty lethal combination on the point,” Nagy said.
Added McGrath: “More so than any other position, defensemen definitely bond the most. Somebody cracked a joke about having the Steel City kids on the blue line together. Just to have two of eight defensemen from Pittsburgh is quite special.”
It has worked well so far for the Crusaders. They rolled to a 7-2-1 record in their first 10 games and were near the top of the Atlantic Hockey Association standings. Last year, they made it to the AHA quarterfinals.
“We're off to a fantastic start. I think we can credit it to the team buying into Coach Pearl's system,” McGrath said. “We're an extremely young team with 11 freshmen. Fortunately, we've been able to get them on board quickly. They all bought into the system well. I credit our veteran leadership to get them on the same page.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Washington & Jefferson football team is set to make some D-III history
- District college notebook: Crouse scores in debut for 24th-ranked PSU
- PSAC West schools commonly outspend eastern foes
- Banaszak instills toughness in Robert Morris football team
- Double trouble: Cress twins bolster Clarion offensive line