After a trade to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights last October, Khristian Acosta’s ride through junior hockey has been one of continued success.
After his move to the NAHL, Acosta quickly established himself as one of the team’s most dangerous offensive weapons. In just his first 10 games, Acosta totaled six goals and seven assists on his way to a seven-game scoring streak.
“The boys were really welcoming,” said Acosta of his early days with the Knights “They took me in right away. Coach Tom and Coach Andrew were great. They all helped me get comfortable quickly.”
The forward from Middletown, New Jersey would prove that his early offensive returns were no fluke. In 34 games with the Knights he was more than a point per game player as he picked up a stat line of 12-23-35.
“The NAHL is easily one of the best junior leagues,” said Acosta. “All you have to do is look at the number of college commits to get an idea of what kind of league this is. It builds great character and it’s a level of competition that’s prepared me for the USHL and has helped ready me for my college career.”
It didn’t take long for Acosta’s torrid play to attract attention from the USHL. Following a goal and assist performance against his hometown New Jersey Titans, Acosta was traded to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. In 20 games to close out 2016-17 he scored one goal and 12 assists.
Moving forward Acosta has his sights set on division one hockey. The 98 birth year has committed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, beginning in the 2018-19 season.
“Definitely the tradition,” said Acosta on what attracted him to the Minutemen program. “They have a pretty new coaching staff, they play in the best conference in college hockey. They really have a beautiful campus and it’s a great place for me to pursue a business major.”
The Minutemen play in the Hockey East Conference, home to such household names as Boston College, Boston University, and Notre Dame. With origins dating back to 1908, Massachusetts Amherst alumni list isn’t short on proud history either, boasting recent alumni like Kings netminder Jonathan Quick, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary, Bruins forward Fran Vatrano and Sharks defenseman Justin Braun among many others.
“I’m looking forward to helping make the Minutemen into a powerhouse program,” said Acosta of his soon-to-be home.
Though his stay wasn’t long, Acosta certainly left a great impression on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton organization. He emphasizes the same could be said of its effect on him.
“I had a great billet family; they’re like second family to me-we keep in touch all the time,” he said. “I had a lot of fun hanging out with the boys, winning a lot of games. I think my favorite memory might have to be when we won to get back over .500. That was pretty special.”
Not lost on Acosta were the efforts of those that he encountered in his time with the Knights.
“I just want to thank the Knights organization, coaches, staff and teammates for helping in my development. They’re a great organization.”
The Knights for their part are happy to have had Khristian as a member of their team and wish the best of luck moving forward with his hockey career.