Vinny Borgesi: storming his way into Boston


Mika Podila

Freshman defenseman Vinny Borgesi on the ice against the University of Vermont Oct. 8. Borgesi scored the game-winning goal in his first collegiate game Oct. 1.

Amelia Ballingall, news staff

After scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in his first collegiate game, freshman defenseman Vinny Borgesi became a newcomer to watch. The 18-year-old stepped onto the ice this fall for the Huskies fresh off a two-year stint with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League and has been making moves on Northeastern’s defensive line ever since.

Northeastern has known Borgesi’s promise for years. The Philadelphia native had just entered his teenage years when the recruitment process started. 

“I’ve known the player for a number of years, watching him,” said associate head coach Mike Levine. “I watched him closely last year when he was [with] Tri-City in the USHL. I knew his game prior to my arrival here.”

Although he had been playing hockey since the age of four, Borgesi said the moment he began to see hockey as something he could continue doing past high school was when Northeastern started showing interest in him. 

He had the opportunity to meet and speak with coaches before even starting high school, eventually committing to Northeastern in December 2018 as a high school freshman. He squeaked in his commitment right before the NCAA changed the hockey recruitment timeline requiring coaches to wait until January of a player’s sophomore year to start recruitment conversations and the following August to make a verbal offer.

“[They] made me feel at home as soon as I met them, so I had a gut feeling that this was the place for me,” Borgesi said. 

Hockey wasn’t the only factor in his decision — Borgesi named Northeastern’s academics program as a main reason he committed to the college so early in his career. 

“You can’t find a place really in the middle of the city where the hockey program’s great and the academics are great,” Borgesi said. 

Although he is in a typical curriculum now, Borgesi had an unconventional high school career. He attended a high school in his hometown his freshman year before transferring to South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut, as a sophomore for its hockey program. From there, he went straight into the junior leagues.

“I tendered into the USHL as a 15-year-old, played my last two years, and now I’m here. I went into that league super, super young, which really isn’t normal,” Borgesi said. 

In the year Borgesi joined, the Storm had an average age of 19, making him a clear outlier. Not only was he one of the youngest players, but also one of the smallest at 5’8”. He continues this theme into college, but these contrasts from his teammates don’t slow him down. 

“He’s a guy that plays bigger than his size,” Levine said. “He plays with a lot of zest, lot of energy, lot of passion — doesn’t back down.”

It’s not just on the ice that Borgesi has established his place at Northeastern; he’s already found a community in the locker room as well. 

“He’s always joking around,” said senior defenseman Jeremie Bucheler. “He’s got funny comments to say and all the guys like him a lot.” 

His energy and passion have already given him a spot on Northeastern’s coveted first line of play alongside a slate of nationally- and internationally-recognized talent. 

“He’s very good. He’s got good instinct and he’s not risky with the puck, but he’s got confidence with it,” Bucheler said.

That confidence showed up right out of the gate in the Oct. 1 matchup against Long Island University. 

“He scored that big goal, and we’re going to need him to play like that, and I think he’s going to play like that,” Bucheler said.

Borgesi’s abundance of skill has led to him being on the starting lineup for seven consecutive games since he made that goal in his debut, the longest starting streak of any player on the team this season. 

“I think he complements any one of our defensemen really well because he has some versatility to how he plays,” Levine said. “He can play with pace, he can play with energy, he can defend hard, he plays well in transitions. He’s got a couple of different layers to his game and I think that complements our entire D-corps really well.”

Borgesi has been demonstrating his versatility on the back line throughout his hockey career, tallying seven goals and 43 assists during his time with the Tri-City Storm. However, he said he is still looking to better himself.

“I have a lot to prove still to the guys in the locker room and the coaches, but for them to have the confidence to put me out there right away and giving me time right away as a freshman means a lot to me, but that doesn’t mean I need to stop working, so I need to keep working and eventually, by the end of the year, hopefully be a lot better,” Borgesi said.

Although Borgesi strives to improve his game, his coaches already see the raw talent the freshman has to offer and will continue to hone throughout his collegiate career. 

“I think he’s a guy that’s going to be a leader of our D-corps. He’s going to play every situation, and as time progresses, he’s going to … lead by example and be a leader in the locker room,” Levine said. “I think the future’s really bright for him.”