Tag Archives: Atlantic Hockey

Reed Robinson Gets the Call from Niagara

Knights veteran Reed Robinson is heading off to school. The ’98 forward will lace up the skates for the Niagara Purple Eagles after the university offered him a spot for the 2018-19 season.

“They called me the other day, I was actually at work,” said Robinson. “I picked it up at work just because it’s the coaches so I always answer. Coach Lammers called me and told me he’s coming down to Dallas this Friday for the NHL Draft. He asked me about getting breakfast on Friday, and that he had a bigger question for me and asked if I wanted to come in this year and of course I said yes. It was a really exciting combo.”

A native or Rockwall, Texas, Robinson has been a cornerstone for the Knights in Pennsylvania since he came aboard in 2015 at the 18U level. After affiliating with the NAHL team that season, Robinson went on to score 36 goals and 42 assists through his NAHL career. He ends his Knights career tied for third in points in the team’s NAHL history.

“Reed Robinson is a great example of what we look for in our organization and our league,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “He came in a couple years ago from the youth level, and continually proved to us that he was capable of taking on bigger roles and bigger minutes. He took advantage of the opportunities he was given each season, and developed into one of our best players and one of the leaders in our locker room.”

“I think the speed of the game at the NAHL level, really made me a faster player,” said Robinson. “It made me make decisions a lot quicker. I think as far as the whole mental side of the game, I’ve learned a lot. It kinda teaches you how to be a college athlete with the time you have to put in and the time management for the work you have to do. I think it really prepared me.”

Robinson heads to a Niagara program that plays in the competitive Atlantic Hockey Conference at the NCAA Division I level. He’s eager to get started.

“I’m just excited to play at the next level,” he said. “I think playing at that level brings your game to that level. I think I’m only going to improve as a hockey player there, so I think that’s a big part of it. Obviously playing in those college hockey rinks won’t be too bad either. That’ll be a lot of fun.”

After playing a program record 138 games in a Knights NAHL sweater, Robinson has too many fond memories to single out just one favorite, but he’ll never forget the people who were apart of his junior hockey journey.

“Certainly the Robby Cup has to be my top moment,” he said. “It was a great experience to go out there-the boys really enjoyed it. I think I’m just going miss my teammates the most I think. I just made so memories, I can’t really pick one. All the guys in Wilkes-Barre were great-it was a good group we had. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. I have to thank the Knights for everything they’ve done. I think everyone helped me to get to college and the Knights organization was a big part of that.”

“I consider Reed as one of those original guys for our program at this level,” said Kowal. “He’ll always be remembered as a big part of what got us started in the NAHL. Those guys hold a special place with me and with our team. I thank him for all the work he’s put in, all the goals he’s helped us achieve, and just for being a quality member of our program. I’m excited for him as he starts his Div. 1 career, and I know he’s going to do well at Niagara. I wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

From ownership on through every member of the organization, the Knights thank Reed for his contributions and will be eagerly rooting him on as embarks on his college career and beyond!

Thomas Farrell Commits to Army

Photo: NAHL

Another Knight will be making the change from blue to black in the near future as Thomas Farrell made his commitment to Army official Thursday. The defenseman will head to West Point starting in the 2019-2020 season, joining the program at the NCAA DI level.

“I’m feeling a little better than good,” laughed Farrell shortly after making his commitment official. “Honestly, I went in there for a visit with an open mind. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always looked up to the military. Now being a part of that, being a small part of that history and that family is a great honor.”

 
At 19, the right handed blue-liner has logged regular minutes atop the Knights defensive corps this season, picking up three goals and 22 assists in 55 games played.
 
“Thomas has been a staple for us this season,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “We send him out there in all situations; power play, penalty kill, three-on-three, four-on-four, overtime, you name it, he’s out there. I can’t think of a better example than this past weekend. We were down to just four healthy defensemen for a three-game weekend. Thomas played a big part in helping us secure four out of six points, keeping us in the race for the #2 seed in our division. He logged a lot of minutes, and our confidence in him never wavered. We knew he had a high ceiling when we tendered him last year and he’s come in and exceeded our expectations.”
 
Farrell’s future team, the Army Black Knights, have built a proud history playing division one hockey dating back to 1903. Steered by head coach Brian Riley, the team and Army’s commitment to excellence caught Farrell’s eye.
 
“One thing I noticed when I stepped on campus while talking to the coaching staff and also the players there was that it was just an extremely dedicated and committed group of people,” he said. “I just saw it as a really great environment for me where I can excel and grow both on and off the ice with them. The leadership program there is awesome. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. I’m very excited to say the least.”
 
Farrell will join current teammate and fellow defenseman Anthony Firriolo, who committed to Army earlier this season. The pair will begin their careers in the 2019-2020 season.
 
“I went on a visit there on Monday,” said Farrell. “I ended up going out with Anthony for lunch after practice on Tuesday. I kinda sat down with him and talked with him a little bit about the dedication and commitment after not only going to the school but also after the four years of education. There’s 17 branches of the military you can go into. It’s not just serving in the front lines. We talked about all the different programs, the student-to-faculty ratio which is awesome. It’s just a great environment.”
 
Farrell’s play stood out even as a tender pressed into duty last postseason when the Knights were depleted by injuries. As a regular in 2017-18, it didn’t take long for Farrell to establish himself as one of the league’s better defenders.
 
“I would consider myself a two-way defenseman,” he said about his game. “That’s how I believe I was scouted by Coach McKelvie, the defensive coach at Army. That’s what he was looking for and that’s a role I think I can fit into. With the Knights here in Wilkes-Barre I think I’ve been able to do a really good job playing defense first then also finding a way to get involved in the offense and doing well with that. Then off the ice, I would say that you’re just getting a kid that’s really put in the hours and the dedication to the sport. That’s what I’m all about, and I think I can bring that dedication and that commitment to the classroom as well. It’s just something I’m really looking forward to do.”
 
“Beyond just his talent, Thomas has been a regular starter for us due to his character on and off the ice,” said Kowal. “He works incredibly hard. Whether it’s practice or a game, he’s on the ice and then he goes right into the weight room. He’s constantly setting an example for the rest of our team to follow.”
 
Farrell’s performance in the first half of the year earned him a spot on the East Division’s top prospects team at the NAHL’s Top Prospects Tournament at the end of February.
 
“Hockey is a team sport,” he said. “That’s one of the most important things that you always gotta have in the back of your head. You can’t just do it all yourself. Anthony and I wouldn’t have these commitments right now if it wasn’t for our team we’re playing with every day on the ice, pushing us to the best of our ability. We’ve just been pushing each other to get as good as we can get and to get noticed. I think that the East Division has played a key role in that as well. This division is one of the fastest in the league. It’s had a key part in us getting noticed by West Point and getting me the chance to visit and figure out what the school is all about.”
 
As the the NAHL postseason draws near, Farrell’s commitment to school wont take away from his commitment to a Robertson Cup run. A three-game showdown with the Titans, beginning with two home games this weekend, could play a massive role in securing the Knights home-ice advantage heading into April’s tournament.
 
“We’re in a really tight race right now with the Titans for that home-ice advantage between the two and three seeds,” said Farrell. “The goal as of right now is to take it one step at a time. This weekend we’re trying to get a solid, at least two out of three against these guys. We want to really clinch that home-ice advantage so that we can go into the playoffs feeling good, with that home ice and take it control a little bit.”
 
Even with games still to play, perspective isn’t lost on Farrell or his coach.
 
“I want to thank Thomas for his contributions to the Knights at this point in his career,” said Kowal. “He’s been an asset as a player but more importantly as a teammate and person. Wherever he is next year, I know he’s got a bright future ahead.”
 
“I just want to shout out to my mom and dad and my sister Brooke,” said Farrell. “They’re the ones that I’ve been with my whole life. I love them, really a lot. I did it for them. They’re the ones that would get me up in the morning. They’re the ones I’d get to see every day and kind of inspired me to be the person I am today. Without them I don’t think I’d be having this conversation.”
 
The Knights congratulate Thomas on his commitment and thank him for all his hard work. The team has been made better by his drive, one that he brings with him everywhere he goes. The Black Knights are getting a good one.
 

Knights Defenseman Anthony Firriolo Commits to Army

Photo: Jessica Kovalcin

Knights defenseman Anthony Firriolo has committed to the United States Military Academy West Point to play division one hockey starting in the 2019-20 season. The ’98 defenseman has chosen not only to play for a great hockey program but also to serve his country in the army.

“Just the brotherhood, the chance to serve my country,” said Firriolo of his interest in Army. “They came to me recently and I had the opportunity to visit the campus. It really felt like a perfect fit for me.”

The United States Military Academy has been a member of NCAA Division I hockey since the program’s beginning in 1903. For the past 15 years the Black Knights have competed in the Atlantic conference with former Brown University alum Brian Riley serving as head coach for the previous 14 seasons. Alumni of the Black Knights program include former NHL forward and Stanley Cup Champion Dan Hinote.

“Anthony is headed to a program that fits his personality and who he is,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “It tells you about his character. He’s a talented player, but a better person who not only wants to play hockey and work hard to earn an education, but wants to serve his country in doing so. We’re very proud of him.”

After being acquired in a trade with the Amarillo Bulls early in the season, Firriolo has settled in nicely as a potent offensive player on the Knights talented blue line. Through 22 games with the Knights and 11 with the Bulls, Firriolo leads all Knights defensemen in assists with 13 and has logged valuable time on the team’s power play, serving as one of its primary quarterbacks. Six of his 13 helpers have come while on the man-advantage.

“I feel I bring offense to a team’s defense,” said Firriolo of his playing style. “I bring some skill to the back end, I like to move pucks up the ice and create opportunities to score. I think I’ll fit at West Point because I like to challenge myself. I like to work hard and have a never-give-up attitude, and out on the ice I’m constantly looking to make myself and my teammates better.”

Through it all, the defenseman has kept an appreciation for playing in the NAHL and his team’s competition.

“The compete level, especially in our division, is special,” he said. “Every night is like a playoff game. You have to bring your a-game because it can go either way against the first-place team or last-place team. Everybody’s highly skilled.”

Firriolo has enjoyed his time playing as a Knight thus far, and credits all those who’ve been alongside him on the journey.

“The coaching staff here has been unreal,” he said. “They took me in after I arrived, a little after the beginning of the season. This group of teammates I think is the closest group I’ve ever been a part of. They way this place operates is perfect for me.”

With his commitment to the Black Knights, Firriolo becomes the seventh Knights NAHL veteran to commit to a division one school over the past year, the third to a team in the Atlantic Hockey.

“He’s a player we’ve had a need for this year,” said Kowal. “Him being an offensive-minded defenseman is an important piece to have on any hockey team, the way the game is being played now. He’s filled that role nicely for us. At the end of the day, we’re thrilled with what he’s brought to our program. I really look forward to rooting him on as he advances forward in his hockey career.”

“I want to thank Coach Tom and Coach Whiteside for all they’ve done for me,” said Firriolo. “I also want to thank all my previous coaches, my teammates, and my family for supporting me all the way.”

The Knights organization congratulates Anthony for his commitment and thanks him for his contributions to the program’s success!